TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- With a sense of vindication, Iran’s defenders absorbed the news this week that US intelligence services no longer believe the Islamic Republic has a non-peaceful nuclear drive.
Russia and China have struggled to stave off new United Nations Security Council sanctions against Iran, and both were quick to turn the latest US intelligence report against the Bush administration. Any attempts to impose additional sanctions should be reconsidered in light of the latest findings, the two countries suggested.
Russia feels it has always been right and now it has been confirmed, and it was even confirmed by the opposite side.
What we are seeing is not a change in the US strategy of reshaping the Middle East, but rather a change of tactics.
Moscow and Beijing have long argued for diplomacy and negotiation instead of sanctions. Both countries also have flouted White House wisdom with repeated arguments that, in fact, Iran’s nuclear program didn’t pose a serious threat.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei V. Lavrov told reporters Wednesday that even this latest US assessment is off the mark. “The US assertion that Iranians were pursuing nuclear weapons until 2003 is false,” he said.
“The data possessed by our American partners, or at least the data shown to us, give no reason to assume that Iran has ever pursued a military nuclear program,” Lavrov said.
At the same time, Lavrov said, Russian President Vladimir V. Putin this week had again entreated Iran to freeze its uranium enrichment program, which Iran says is only for civilian energy purposes.
Western Europe, meanwhile, remains openly leery of Iran’s intentions. A defiant Tehran is still ignoring two Security Council orders to halt uranium enrichment, Europeans pointed out, and new sanctions still can’t be crossed off the list of possible repercussions.
“Our concerns are still there,” German government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm said Wednesday. “That’s why we recommend a certain restraint of German companies in their business with Iran.
“It is still necessary to put Iran under pressure, combined with the offer of cooperation.”
It is of much surprise to everyone in the civilized world why West is still insistent on further sanctions when it can’t justify the previous ones, as the main arch foe of the Islamic Republic has confessed to its mistakes and actually shattered the raison detre for not only the first two but also any other sanctions on Tehran.
When the US approves that Iran’s nuclear programs and activities are peaceful, then why should it drop uranium enrichment activities, given the fact that Tehran is a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the treaty entitles all members to the right of enrichment.
The new US intelligence report, made public Monday, marked a fundamental retreat from the Bush administration’s repeated accusations that Iran is working to develop nuclear weapons.
News of the report was gladly received in Russia, China and many other developing countries, including the member states of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) which have always voiced strong support for Iran’s nuclear activities.
Russia and Iran have a strategic alliance and shared interest in preserving stability in the Central Asian countries of the former Soviet Union.
“Russia feels it has always been right and now it has been confirmed, and it was even confirmed by the opposite side,” said Alexander Umnov, senior researcher at Moscow’s Institute of World Economy and International Relations.
There is a pervasive sense of hope in Russia and China that the report, coming from the US government itself, would slow the rush to sanctions and pave the way for negotiation.
Wang Guangya, China’s UN ambassador, told reporters that moves to impose sanctions on Tehran should be reconsidered.