Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Tehran tantrum

Iran refused today to halt its nuclear research despite yesterday's agreement by world powers on an outline for a new sanctions resolution. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran was determined to develop nuclear technology to generate electrical power, the Reuters international news agency reported, and called opposition from Western nations a "mistake." World powers agreed on the new resolution yesterday, although without punitive measures the United States was pushing for. But why, exactly, would Iran need nuclear power for electricity when it sits atop the world's third-largest oil reserve, behind only Saudi Arabia and Canada, and has huge natural gas reserves? Most likely, what the Western nations believe is not a mistake at all — Iran wants to develop nuclear weapons, despite a U.S. intelligence assessment that Iran stopped work on such weaponry in 2003. That assessment apparently was behind the decision of China and Russia, who have major trade relationships with Iran, to oppose punitive sanctions proposed by the United States, including a ban on business with leading state banks.

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