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U.S. warns iran on nuke program


A senior U.S. official challenged Iran's hard-line president Thursday over his claim that Iranians are immune from further U.N. sanctions, saying such action is in the works unless Tehran meets demands to curb its nuclear program.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivered his own warning in Tehran, saying his government would make unspecified economic retaliation against any European country that followed the U.S. lead in imposing sanctions on some Iranian banks and businesses.

A Saudi Arabian official, meanwhile, said Arab states in the Persian Gulf had proposed to Tehran that they set up a consortium to provide Iran with enriched uranium as way to defuse the nuclear fight.

U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns made his comment after a meeting with the head of the United Nations' nuclear watchdog agency that was meant to demonstrate unity following recent strains on how best to deal with Iran's defiance.

Burns stopped to talk with Mohamed ElBaradei at the International Atomic Energy Agency's headquarters before heading to London, where he was to discuss the Iran standoff with his counterparts from Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.

He planned to press them for agreement on a third set of U.N. sanctions to be threatened unless Tehran changes its position and obeys U.N. Security Council demands that it suspend uranium enrichment and related programs.

France and Britain back new sanctions if Tehran remains defiant, but Russia and China - the two other veto-holding permanent members of the Security Council - are skeptical.

Washington and its allies say Iran is using the program to secretly develop nuclear weapons, while the Islamic republic insists it needs enrichment technology to produce fuel for atomic reactors that will generate electricity.

Ahmadinejad has been adamant that Iran will not curtail its nuclear program and has ridiculed previous sanctions as ineffective.

On Thursday, he said Europeans would suffer if they matched the latest U.S. sanctions that bar American companies from dealing with businesses and banks linked to Iran's Revolutionary Guards, a military force that has holdings in oil, construction and other sectors.

"If they plan to cooperate with the enemy of the Iranian nation, we cannot interpret this as a friendly behavior. We will show reaction," Iranian state radio quoted Ahmadinejad as saying. "You, Europeans, know well what will happen in the economic sphere if Iran takes a serious move in this matter."

According to Iranian statistics, Europe is Iran's largest trading partner.

ElBaradei angered Washington by suggesting it was too late to insist on a full Iranian enrichment freeze and then reaching an agreement with Tehran that commits Iran to answer questions it has been dodging about its nuclear program.

While Washington has since swung its support behind that approach, U.S. officials worry Iran will use the deal to try to weaken Security Council attempts to force an enrichment halt. Ahmadinejad and other Iranian officials have said that if Iran meets its commitment to tell all to the IAEA, the matter before the Security Council will be "closed."

Burns took pains to rebut that view after his hour-long meeting with ElBaradei.

Ahmadinejad "said in September the Security Council case is closed," Burns told reporters. "I am sorry to tell him it's not closed. There are sanctions being implemented ... and there will be a third Security Council sanctions resolution" if Iran continues to defy the council.

Burns said he and ElBaradei agreed that "it's important that Iran finally tell the truth about its activities in the past ... but we also agreed that all of us" back a third round of sanctions if necessary.

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, suggested a way out of the crisis is a proposal by the Arab nations around the Persian Gulf to form a consortium that would build a uranium enrichment plant to supply the region's states, including Iran, with reactor fuel.

Speaking with the Middle East Economic Digest in London, he said the plant should be sited in a neutral country outside the region.

"The U.S. is not involved, but I don't think it (would be) hostile to this, and it would resolve a main area of tension between the West and Iran," the magazine quoted Prince Saud as saying.

He said the idea had been proposed to Iran's government, which said it would consider the plan. The Iranians previously ignored a similar proposal from Russia - to host Iran's uranium enrichment facilities on its territory to allay Western concerns about monitoring.

The agreement between the IAEA and Iran commits Tehran to clear up by December all questions about its program - much of which the Iranians had kept secret until discovered four years ago.

In Tehran, Iranian officials and IAEA representatives wrapped up four days of talks on some of those questions Thursday, state media reported. The Iranian side expressed satisfaction with the discussions, but there was no comment from the U.N. agency.

Associated Press writers Veronika Oleksyn in Vienna and Nasser Karimi in Tehran, Iran, contributed to this report.

Entry #1,243


Rick GComment by Rick G - November 2, 2007, 10:08 am
Saudi Arabia's idea sounds good. But Iran rejected Russia's offer to do the same thing. Iran has to put its cards on the table now. Is it for electricity or is it for weapons?

Diplomacy and economic sanctions (ostracism) are the ways to deal with rogue nations...not war. A military attack on Iran to resolve this issue would be foolhardy and not in the best interests of anyone on this planet. Washington has to stop the saber rattling rhetoric now. We cannot allow this lame duck administration to create any more havoc than it already has.
Comment by LOTTOMIKE - November 2, 2007, 11:18 am
yep it would be very foolhardy.i'm counting the days until bush leaves.i can just see george now with his finger ready to press that button to blow up the world.
TenajComment by Tenaj - November 2, 2007, 4:03 pm
RickG, I will vote for you if you ran for president.
Comment by jim695 - November 2, 2007, 4:32 pm
Historically, economic sanctions imposed against rogue nations have been largely ineffective. Trade embargoes, impossibly high import tariffs and the denial of financial aid to third-world nations only serves to intensify their resolve to stand up to the world's biggest bully.
   America imposed such sanctions upon Iraq about eighteen months before OIF was launched in 2003. Those measures had no effect except to make Saddam thump his chest and say, "Bring it on!" I'm afraid that's exactly what's going to happen here.
   Within the next year or so, I expect Iran to begin hoarding oil. It's really the only card they have to play, and since they control one third of the world's oil supply, the economic effects in this country will be felt immediately as gasoline rises to over five dollars a gallon overnight. Granted, Iran will suffer, too, but they'll have the option of selling their oil to nations such as Venezuela, Russia and China.
   If Iran wants to build nuclear reactors for purposes of producing electricity, they have every right to do so. The current situation can be likened to a police officer arresting one of us for having purchased a can of lighter fluid because he believed we would use it to commit arson.
   Of course a measure of scrutiny must be employed by the IAEC to ensure that they don't develop nuclear weapons (no one wants that) but, so far, we're operating on the assumption that that's their true goal, and the only evidence we have that this is true is our own suspicion.
   I agree; it's a serious situation, but I believe Bush is using this to open yet another front in a war we cannot win before he leaves office. We need to fix the very significant problems we have with our own leadership, or lack of it, before we go attacking every country in the Middle East and, believe me, if we attack Iran, that's exactly what we'll have to do. We'll have no way of knowing who we're fighting or who we're supposed to kill; insurgents do not wear uniforms, and they don't carry signs that say "Insurgent."
   American democracy has ceded to the current Idiocracy that holds power in our country and, because of it, we're now on the very brink of World War III. If not for the threats issued by the Bush Administration, Iran might have accepted Saudi Arabia's offer; we'll never know for sure. As it is, Iranian president M. Night Shamylanimamumiam (I know his name begins with an "A," but let's just go with what I have; my spell checker is puffing smoke) has no choice but to stand up to America or lose face with his people. Putting myself in his shoes for a moment, I'm sure I would be every bit as defiant, given my own experience with bullies.
   I was skinny as a kid, and therefore I was a target for the class bully. This particular bully had a crew of about ten kids who would help him beat me up after school. After coming home bloody and crying for the third straight day, my father gave me some advice. He told me to pick up whatever was handy and start swinging the next time they came after me. Our school playground had a broken merry-go-round, where the handles had come loose. One day Scott, the bully told me what he was going to do to me that day after school, so I decided a preemptive strike was in order. I sauntered over to the merry-go-round, grabbed a piece of pipe (part of the loose handle) and proceeded to strike Scott in the face as hard as I could. He hit the ground and a teacher grabbed me from behind and disarmed me. I was expelled for a week and had to undergo a psychological evaluation, the results of which were favorable to me, and I was allowed to return to the fifth grade after three days. Scott was out for three weeks as he recovered from his broken jaw and nose. All the kids in his gang wanted to be my best friends after that, but I told them to go screw themselves unless they wanted some of the same. Scott kept his distance from that point forward, and we moved to Indiana a few years later. When I went back to Sioux City for my grandfather's funeral, I learned that Scott had been killed in a motorcycle accident. I found his grave and took a dump on it (admittedly, this wasn't a very mature thing to do but, yes, I really did) because that was as much as I could do to honor his memory.
   My point is that bullies always get their comeuppance eventually, and if Bush launches a strike against Iran, we should expect to be hit in the face with a pipe. We must rid ourselves of the warmongers currently holding office and replace them with people who are smart, even if they're not rich. For some reason, Americans equate wealth with intelligence and ability, but it should be obvious to all of us by now that one has little, if anything, to do with the others. Vote the bums out! Take the power away from the two major parties by changing your voter registration to "Independent," and then vote that way. Independent candidates will have no obligations to either party, and so they'll be able to concentrate on doing their jobs rather than holding meetings with lobbyists or deciding which no-bid contracts they'll award to their in-laws and friends. If we continue to elect these crooks, they'll naturally assume that we'd like more of the same, and that's what we''ll get; more corruption, more scandals and more ineffective, self-serving political agendas.

   Einstein was probably correct when he said, "I don't know how World War III will be fought, but I do know that World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."

   Thanks for another great topic, Mike. Keep 'em coming.

Comment by LOTTOMIKE - November 2, 2007, 7:50 pm
we have one year from this time right now when elections start.lets hope like hell bush don't pull something funny in that time period.
Comment by mountainman - November 2, 2007, 11:28 pm
some of ya'll are typical democrats; diplomacy can solve every ill. Guess what? There is no compromise when someone is holding a gun to every American citizens head and says they want to kill you!! Terrorist are using women and children as shields; their deaths mean nothing to this Taliban wack jobs, because they will blame them on us as part of their sick recruitment plan. Do you want that blood on your hands? Where is another hero like President Reagan?
Comment by LOTTOMIKE - November 3, 2007, 12:36 am
bush is no ronald reagan.reagan was a hero.he handled thinks swiftly and efficiently.i remember libya in '86.he let them know real fast who was boss.he stood up to russia.reagan did all these things in a way bush never could.
Comment by LOTTOMIKE - November 3, 2007, 12:36 am
bush is no ronald reagan.reagan was a hero.he handled thinks swiftly and efficiently.i remember libya in '86.he let them know real fast who was boss.he stood up to russia.reagan did all these things in a way bush never could.
Comment by mountainman - November 3, 2007, 4:30 am
Yeah, Reagan was awesome, and greatly missed. His biggest mistake was trading weapons to Iran to lessen hostilities. Bush is close to Reagan though. The bureaucracy is what is hurting Americans the most right now.
Comment by mountainman - November 3, 2007, 10:35 pm
I have to retract the weapon sale comment, because I don't think it was Reagan's fault, and it had been going on for years. I in no way was blaming Reagan in the first place however.

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