Russia and China today snubbed Iran and rejected Tehran’s invitation to join a “tour” of Iranian nuclear sites in Natanz and Arak on Saturday and Sunday. The Western countries had already rejected the invitation, regarding it as a bid to marginalize the role of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as the sole authority for inspection of the country’s nuclear facilities.
Iran’s invitation had been sent to all members of IAEA except the US, Britain, France and Germany. Iran was expecting to get positive response from China and Russia and by snubbing the West it was hoping to divide the major powers ahead of their upcoming talks with Iran on 21-22 January in Istanbul.
Only five countries have so far accepted Tehran’s invitation to participate in the weekend tour of the nuclear facilities: Cuba, Venezuela, Syria, Algeria and Egypt. Iran had also invited Brazil and Turkey, assumed to be Iran's close allies on nuclear issue, but both have declined.
Iran’s ambassador to IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, said he was "very pleased" by the “positive” response of the international community to Tehran’s invitation.
The Iranian leaders are so consumed by their nuclear program that they are losing touch with realities, calling the rejection by all major powers and by Brazil, Turkey and the majority of IAEA membership a “positive” response to their invitation and their tactics. Their latest move was a big failure of their own making ahead of the crucial Istanbul talks.