Iran hits back as US snubs Brazil-Turkey nuclear deal

Iran hits back as US snubs Brazil-Turkey nuclear deal
# 19 May 2010 21:17 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. Iran voiced exasperation Wednesday at US-led international rejection of a hard-won nuclear fuel deal, saying major powers would be "discrediting" themselves if they pressed for fresh UN sanctions, APA reports quoting AFP.
Washington on Tuesday announced that it would submit a resolution at the UN Security Council for a fourth round of sanctions, a day after the Brazilian and Turkish leaders forged a compromise agreement they hailed as a step towards a resolution of Iran’s years-old standoff with the West.
Under the deal, Iran agreed to ship out much of its stockpile of low enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for fuel for a research reactor.
"(Talk of) imposing sanctions has faded and this resolution is the last effort by the West," the Fars news agency quoted Vice President Ali Akbar Salehi, who also heads Iran’s atomic energy organisation, as saying.
"We should be patient because they won’t prevail and by pursuing the passing of a new resolution they are discrediting themselves in public opinion," Salehi said after a meeting of government ministers.
"They feel that for the first time in the world developing countries are able to defend their rights in the world arena without resorting to the major powers and that is very hard for them," he added.
The new draft resolution before the Security Council would expand an arms embargo and measures against Iran’s banking sector, as well as banning it from sensitive overseas activities, like uranium mining and developing ballistic missiles, a US official said.
"The resolution would establish a comprehensive new framework for cargo inspections, both in states’ ports and on the high seas," the official told journalists on condition of anonymity.
The draft has the blessing of all five of the veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council, including the usual standouts China and Russia, the US said.
"We have reached agreement on a strong draft with the cooperation of both Russia and China," US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.
"This announcement is as convincing an answer to the efforts undertaken in Tehran over the last few days as any we could provide," Clinton added.
China’s apparent backing of a fourth round of sanctions against Iran over its suspect nuclear activities came despite its earlier support for the swap deal.
"We attach importance to and support this agreement," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said.
The Russian foreign ministry spoke of an "understanding in principle... on the draft resolution".
But the Iranian atomic energy chief expressed doubts about the emerging international consensus against his country.
"We should be patient because they won’t prevail and by pursuing the passing of a new resolution they are discrediting themselves in public opinion," Salehi said.
"I think there are some rational people among them who will stop them from making this irrational move."
Clinton said Washington had raised "a number of unanswered questions" about the deal struck on Monday but welcomed what she called the "sincere efforts of both Turkey and Brazil," two US allies that are both non-permanent members of the UN Security Council.
Western powers suspect that Iran’s atomic programme is a cover for a nuclear weapons drive, something Tehran strongly denies.
Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim insisted the new agreement "creates an opportunity for a peaceful negotiated settlement."
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged the world community to support the deal, which his foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, warned could be spoiled by talk of sanctions.
Already under three sets of UN sanctions over its defiance of repeated Security Council ultimatums to suspend uranium enrichment, Iran touted its agreement with Brazil and Turkey as a goodwill gesture that paves the way for a resumption of talks with the major powers.
Iran’s archfoe Israel -- the Middle East’s sole if undeclared nuclear-armed state -- is weighing a formal response to the deal, although a senior official accused Iran of trickery shortly after it was signed.