Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Trying to tame Tehran

France has picked up the call to toughen sanctions on Iran's government after Tehran announced today that has started to install 6,000 centrifuges to accelerate its enrichment of uranium. "I fear that we will have to continue on the path of sanctions if we do not receive a response from the Iranians, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said in Paris. Western nations have offered a package of incentives to persuade Iran to stop its nuclear development, which they suspect could lead to nuclear weapons. About 1,500 of the centrifuges are enough to build a small nuclear weapon, analysts say, according to the Reuters international news service. Iran insists its work is limited to the development of nuclear power for electricity, even though the country is the world's fourth leading oil exporter. In a televised speech today marking Iran's National Day of Nuclear Technology, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad said Western nations that tried to restrict Iran's nuclear ambitions had been defeated. "They imagined that by imposing political pressure and sanctions, Iran's economy will fall apart but we saw that this did not happen," Ahmedinejad said, according to Reuters. The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, plan to meet in Shanghai next week to discuss increasing their incentives offer.

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