A conservative news and views blog.

Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

On the Precipice

Isn`t it about time for President Bush to act?

This from the Daily Times:

R E G I O N: Nuclear fuel deal with Russia imminent: Iran
* Tehran warns of immediate payback for any attack after blast scareTEHRAN: Russia will sign a deal with Iran next week to start nuclear fuel shipments for the Russian-built reactor there, an Iranian official said on Thursday. The United States, which accuses Iran of secretly working to develop nuclear weapons, has long called on Russia to avoid supplying the Islamic state with nuclear fuel. “A fuel deal for the Bushehr nuclear power plant will be signed on February 26,” Assadollah Sabouri, deputy head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation, told state television. The comments indicated that the two countries had settled disagreements over the terms of their accord after years of negotiations. Oil-rich Iran denies that it is developing nuclear arms and says its programme is solely for generating electricity. Israel said on Wednesday that Iran was just six months away from having the knowledge to build nuclear weapons. Sabouri said Alexander Rumyantsev, the head of Russia’s Atomic Energy Agency, would travel to Iran to sign the deal. A source at the agency said this month that the first fuel containers would be supplied about two months after the signing. The 1,000-megawatt Bushehr reactor, Iran’s only nuclear power plant, is due to start up in late 2005 and reach full capacity in 2006. Spent fuel will be sent back to Siberian storage units after about a decade of use - a condition Russia thinks should allay US concerns that Iran could use the material to make weapons. The European Union, represented by France, Britain and Germany, has been trying to persuade Iran to scrap potentially weapons-related activities in return for economic incentives. But Iran has repeatedly said it will never permanently end its disputed nuclear activities. Immediate payback: Iran warned that it would respond immediately to any military strike after a roadworks blast near a nuclear site sparked fears of an attack, the state news agency IRNA reported Thursday.“An attack, whatever it is, against any site, whether it be nuclear or not, would produce a very rapid response,” Defence Minister Ali Shamkhani said.“The Iranian nation would not yet have even been informed of an attack against a site, nuclear or not, before learning of our decisive reaction.” A big explosion near Iran’s Gulf port of Daylam on Wednesday raised speculation of military activity when local Arabic-language television said witnesses reported seeing a missile being fired from an unidentified plane.But a senior security official insisted there was no hostile strike, just major earthworks in an largely uninhabited area in the south of the country. The blast was located near Daylam, about 150 kilometres (90 miles) from Bushehr, where a controversial nuclear power plant is being built with Russian help.“Nothing happened in the region” of Bushehr, insisted Shamkhani, accusing the media of exaggeration.Iranian officials have charged that the reports carried by the foreign media were part of a “psychological war being waged by the United States against Iran”.The administration of US President George W Bush has warned of possible military action over Iran’s nuclear activities, charging that its efforts to develop nuclear fuel are a cover for an atomic weapons programme. US media reports have said the United States has been flying drones over Iran since April 2004, seeking evidence of nuclear weapons work and probing for weaknesses in Iran’s air defences. agencies

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