Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s rocket-launch plays ’cat and mouse’ with West

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s rocket-launch plays ’cat and mouse’ with West
# 03 February 2010 23:04 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran demonstrated today that he has become a master of playing “cat-and-mouse” with the West - and this time the mouse was real, APA reports quoting timesonline.co.uk web-page.
Once again, the Iranian president offered a last-minute concession to head off the West’s drive for tough new sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
In an interview on state television, Mr Ahmadinejad said Iran had “no problem” shipping enriched uranium abroad in a swap deal that that Teheran had resisted for months.
The surprise announcement came as the West prepared to ask Russia and China to back new UN sanctions targetting Iran’s energy sector, central bank and Revolutionary Guards - the first new UN sanctions since March 2008.
Political directors from the “Big Three” EU powers - Britain, France and Germany - are to hold a telephone conference call with their US counterpart on Friday before consulting with Russia and China later in the day.
But Western officials acknowledged today that Iran’s about-face on the uranium swap would undercut their case.
At the same time, Iran thumbed its nose at UN restrictions on its ballistic missiles programme by sending a rocket into space carrying a mouse, a turtle and two worms.
State TV showed the the Kavoshgar-3 (Explorer-3) rocket blasting off from a desert launchpad with what it called “living organisms.” The ISNA news agency said the capsule later returned to earth with its “passengers.”
Mr Ahmadinejad hailed the launch as a breakthrough that would help break “the global domineering system” of the Western powers.
Speaking at a ceremony unveiling a new satellite, he said Iran hoped to send astronauts into space soon.
But Western experts suggested the civilian space programme provided cover for Iran’s development of long-range missiles capable of carrying a nuclear pay-load.
The White House denounced the rocket launch as a “provocative act.”
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