Friday, May 25, 2007

The Train with No Breaks: Sequel

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressing a political rally in Isfahan province today again likened Iran’s nuclear progress to a train which has no breaks or reverse gears. Ahmadinejad said Iran not only does not suspend its uranium enrichment activities but it is actually boosting its nuclear fuel cycle capabilities. He said Iran’s goal is to become an exporter of nuclear fuel.

On Wednesday, IAEA reported to the UN Security Council that Iran has indeed expanded its uranium enrichment program. The IAEA report said that Iran has installed 1,300 centrifuges in Natanz with hundreds more in pre-installation final test phase.

President Bush called for much severer sanctions against Iran for its continued defiance of the UNSC resolutions. The new French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner also said in Paris yesterday that France is in favor of the rapid adoption of new sanctions against Iran.

In a related development, the Russian nuclear agency RosAtom announced that Iran seems to have lost interest in completion of the Bushehr nuclear power plant. A RosAtom spokesman told AFP that Iran is not financing the project properly. The spokesman said Iran was scheduled to pay the Russians $25 million a month but in the first five months of the year it has only paid a total of $20 million. If they pay, work will proceed, he said.

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