Daily Israel Report

Iran Asks IAEA for Sanctions Help

Iran asks for help with sanctions and complains to the UN about American "threats of military action".
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 8/19/2010, 3:20 AM / Last Update: 8/19/2010, 3:13 AM

Iran called the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Wednesday to help Tehran with the sanctions that have been imposed on it by the UN Security Council over its refusal to stop enriching uranium.

Iran’s Ambassador to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, was quoted as saying that the IAEA should defend Iran since it knows that it has been cooperating with the UN.

On Friday Russia is scheduled to begin loading nuclear fuel rods into the Iranian reactor in Bushehr. IAEA observers will be on hand to supervise the operation.

Earlier on Wednesday, Iran denied a message by former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, who had warned that activation of a nuclear reactor in the Islamic Republic will end the chance to prevent Tehran from developing an atomic weapon.

Iranian officials denied that the Bushehr nuclear power plant will produce enriched uranium, or an atomic weapon, after it is activated Friday.

Bolton had said on Tuesday that there are only three days left for Israel to attack Iran if it wants to stop the Islamic Republic from manufacturing nuclear weapons. He expressed pessimism that the US administration would lead an attack against Iran, saying, "I would be very surprised if there are any circumstances in which the Obama administration would use force against Iran's nuclear program."

Earlier in the month Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US, said that the US does have a plan in place to attack Iran if the need arises. "I think the military options have been on the table and remain on the table. It's one of the options that the president has. Again, I hope we don't get to that, but it's an important option and it's one that's well understood," said Mullen.

Iran also complained on Wednesday to top UN officials about what they perceived as American threats of military action following Mullen’s words, and declared that Teheran will respond to any such attack. In letters written to the heads of the UN Security Council and General Assembly, Iran’s acting UN ambassador Eshagh Alehabib slammed Mullen for what he said was his threats of using use force against Iran based on “totally false” grounds that Iran is building nuclear weapons.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that any talks with US would only take place only if Washington drops what he called "sanctions and threats" against Tehran, reported AFP.

"The respected president (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) and others have said that we are ready for negotiation. It is right. But not with America," said Khamenei during a televised speech. "The reason is that America does not enter the field honestly as a normal negotiator. They should drop the face of a superpower, they should drop threats, they should drop sanctions and they should not set a goal for negotiation. Then we are ready."