Russia Gives Iran Ultimatum on Enrichment

[quote]PARIS, March 19 — Russia has informed Iran that it will withhold nuclear fuel for Iran’s nearly completed Bushehr power plant unless Iran suspends its uranium enrichment as demanded by the United Nations Security Council, European, American and Iranian officials say.

The ultimatum was delivered in Moscow last week by Igor S. Ivanov, the secretary of the Russian National Security Council, to Ali Hosseini Tash, Iran’s deputy chief nuclear negotiator, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because a confidential diplomatic exchange between two governments was involved.

For years, President Bush has been pressing President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to cut off help to Iran on the nuclear power plant that Russia is building at Bushehr, in southern Iran. But Mr. Putin has resisted. The project is Tehran’s first serious effort to produce nuclear energy and has been very profitable for Russia.

Recently, however, Moscow and Tehran have been engaged in a public argument about whether Iran has paid its bills, which may explain Russia’s apparent shift. But the ultimatum may also reflect an increasing displeasure and frustration on Moscow’s part with Iran over its refusal to stop enriching uranium at its vast facility at Natanz.

“We’re not sure what mix of commercial and political motives are at play here,” one senior Bush administration official said in Washington. “But clearly the Russians and the Iranians are getting on each other’s nerves — and that’s not all bad.”

A senior European official said: “We consider this a very important decision by the Russians. It shows that our disagreements with the Russians about the dangers of Iran’s nuclear program are tactical. Fundamentally, the Russians don’t want a nuclear Iran.”[/quote] … an.html?hp

Now THIS is a news story. But will it get any air time over Paris’s beaver or Scooter or unemployed lawyers?

I am glad to see Russia back in the news doing some diplomating to try and solve the Iran nuke issue. Without Russia, the UNSC is flacid.

Now if we China can step up and try to stop the slaughter in Darfur by threatening to cease oil production and/or stop funding the government in The Sudan…

Finally, some good news on that front. It is about time that Russia started acting responsibly and using their influence to prevent Ahmadinejad from getting his hands on a nuclear arsenal.

Also, Ahmadinejad is not doing so well on his homefront. Increasingly, his bigmouth and posturing is coming under fire, and not only from his parliament and the newspapers. Apparently, dissent is widespread.

[quote]Members of the Iranian Parliament criticized the president in two documents this week for his handling of the nuclear crisis and the faltering economy.
Last week two hard-line newspapers criticized Ahmadinejad for his comments about the country’s nuclear program, saying he had complicated the matter.[/quote]

I’ll say.

Russia just wants an excuse to get its technicians and unpaid merchandise out of the way before hammer time.

I think Russia and this issue could be what prevents bombing Iran. It always comes down to money.