Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the top official in Iran, has said that Tehran would not cooperate with U.N. nuclear inspectors if the nation were faced with heightened international pressure or “excessive demands,” the Associated Press reported yesterday (see GSN, Oct. 31).
Iran agreed last month to sign the Additional Protocol to its international nuclear safeguards agreement, which would allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to monitor Iranian nuclear activities more rigorously.
“If parties to the talks with us or centers of global power come up with excessive demands and we feel that our interests and values are harmed, we won’t hesitate to end this trend (of cooperation),” Khamenei said (Associated Press/CNN.com, Nov. 2).
“So far, nothing has been done against our principles,” he said. “Wherever I feel that a step has been taken against the directions and goals of the establishment, I will stop it,” Khamenei added.
IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said that agency officials are still reviewing Iran’s nuclear declaration (Ali Akbar Dareini, Associated Press/Yahoo!News, Nov. 2).
Addressing complaints from hard-liners in Iran who have protested the decision to cooperate more with the IAEA, Khamenei said Iran has made no concessions.
“What happened was right and well managed in order to foil the U.S. and Zionist conspiracy,” he added (Agence France-Presse, Nov. 3).
Khamenei’s remarks followed a Thursday speech by U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton in which he suggested that Iran’s agreement to sign the Additional Protocol would not satisfy the United States.
“It still remains to be seen whether these initiatives will amount to more than mere words, and even if Iran follows through with its promises, many further steps will still be required in order to prove beyond doubt that Iran is foreswearing the pursuit of nuclear weapons,” Bolton said (State Department release, Oct. 30).
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, meanwhile, arrived in Moscow yesterday and is expected to discuss Iran’s nuclear program with Russian President Vladimir Putin (Steve Weizman, Associated Press/Yahoo!News, Nov. 2).