Tehran: In the year since his disputed
re-election, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has led Iran to the
brink of new UN sanctions with his defiant stance over a
nuclear programme the West suspects is aimed at making an atom
Maintaining the hardline "not one iota" position that
marked his first four years in office, Iran repeatedly
rejected proposals drafted by the UN atomic watchdog last
October to allay Western suspicions through a nuclear fuel
When Ahmadinejad`s government finally signed up to a
face-saving version of the deal under Turkish and Brazilian
auspices last month, the United States had already written off
the idea because of the amount of additional uranium Iran
had enriched in the meantime.
The UN Security Council is now poised to vote on a
US-drafted sanctions resolution today for pursuing the nuclear
drive which Tehran says is purely peaceful.
Ahmadinejad had counted on veto-wielding Security Council
permanent members China and Russia, both of which have strong
trade ties with Iran, to block US-led pressure for a new
package of punitive measures.
But yesterday, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said
the sanctions resolution had been "practically agreed upon" by
the major powers, although he added that Moscow had fought to
ensure that they "should not be excessive."