Iran threatened on Wednesday to resume its enrichment of uranium -- a prerequisite for making nuclear weapons -- if the International Atomic Energy Agency passed an expected resolution rebuking it for not cooperating. \nIranian President Mohammad Khatami said his country no longer had a "moral commitment" to suspend uranium enrichment, though he added that it had not made a decision to restart such work. \n"If the draft resolution proposed by the European countries is approved by the IAEA, Iran will reject it," Khatami said in Tehran. "If Europe has no commitment toward Iran, then Iran will not have a commitment toward Europe." \nKhatami's statement deepened the rift between Iran and the atomic energy agency, a UN watchdog group, as its 35-member governing board was close to passing a toughly worded resolution deploring Tehran's lack of cooperation with its investigation of the country's nuclear program. \nThe US accused Iranian officials of trying to push board members into softening the criticism. \n"They're trying to intimidate the board and individual states," said Kenneth Brill, the US ambassador to the agency. "It really makes us question their claims that they have nothing to hide." \nThere had been expectations that the resolution would be proposed on Wednesday, but diplomats said they were at odds over some phrases in the introduction. They said they hoped to propose it yesterday morning. \nRepresentatives from Iran spent the day scrambling to delete a provision calling for the cancellation of Tehran's plans to build a heavy-water research reactor and to start operations at a uranium conversion plant. \nThe resolution, drafted by the UK, France and Germany, said those projects raised suspicions that Iran would not suspend uranium enrichment, as it promised last October in an agreement with the three countries. \nThe head of Iran's delegation here, Hossein Mousavian, insisted that the projects were outside the scope of the agreement. He also insisted that Iran had met all its obligations to the Europeans, as well as to the agency, which has been scrutinizing Iran's nuclear program for more than two years. \nThe resolution, Mousavian warned, would undermine relations between Iran and the agency, particularly among hard-line members of Iran's Parliament, some of whom have threatened that they will not ratify an agreement permitting unannounced inspections of its nuclear facilities. \nIn Tehran on Wednesday, the Iranian foreign minister noted that the Parliament, which has been controlled by conservative opponents of the government since elections last February, might be more reluctant to cooperate by ratifying the agreement. \n"We have told the Europeans that the new Parliament does not think the same way as the previous Parliament, and that should be considered in their calculations," the foreign minister, Kamal Kharazai, was quoted as saying by the Islamic Republic News Agency. \nDespite their vitriolic tone, Iranian officials stopped short of darker threats, like refusing access to UN inspectors or withdrawing from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, as North Korea did. Mousavian, in fact, said he saw no reason to "cut relations with the IAEA." \nThe future of ties between Iran and Europe, he suggested, was more problematic. "Internally, a lot of people cannot trust the promises of cooperation with the Europeans," Mousavian said. \nUnder the terms of the deal last October between Iran and the foreign ministers of Germany, the UK and France -- at a time when the US was urging a harder line on Iran -- the Europeans offered to sell nuclear technology to the Iranians if they agreed to stop enriching uranium. \nIran, while asserting its right to enrich uranium, said it would suspend the activity. \nA recent report by the agency cast doubt on Iran's claims. It said the Iranian government was continuing to make parts for centrifuges, the machines that enrich, or purify, uranium by spinning it. \nThe agency's director-general, Mohamed ElBaradei, said it was "premature to make a judgment" about whether Iran's program was military.
Cambodian fishers on the Mekong River got a shock when they inadvertently hooked an endangered giant freshwater stingray 4m long and weighing 180kg, scientists said yesterday. The female leviathan, one of Southeast Asia’s largest and rarest species of fish, was caught by accident last week in Stung Treng Province when it swallowed a smaller fish that had taken a baited hook. An international team of experts on the US-funded Wonders of the Mekong project worked with the fishers to unhook the ray before weighing and measuring it, and returning it unharmed to the river. The Mekong is a crucial habitat for a vast
A glimpse of a possible Picasso in the home of Imelda Marcos filmed during a visit by her son after his presidential election win has set off a flurry of speculation in the Philippines, where the family that once plundered billions is set to return to power. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, the son and namesake of the late dictator, won a landslide victory in Monday’s presidential election, an outcome that has appalled those who survived his father’s regime. Images released by the family showed Marcos Jr visiting the home of his mother, who had displayed Picasso’s Femme Couche VI (Reclining Woman VI),
The head of Australia’s foreign intelligence service has used a rare public address to suggest that an increasing number of disillusioned Chinese officials are willing to cooperate with the agency. Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) director-general Paul Symon addressed a range of topics related to Australia’s foreign intelligence operations, including the recent Solomon Islands-China security pact and the need to recruit new spies “with more vigor and urgency” than ever before. Speaking at a Sydney event hosted by the Lowy Institute to mark ASIS’ 70th anniversary, he said the audience, which included high ranking members of Australia’s intelligence community and top diplomats,
WARNINGS IGNORED: An initial count found that Ferdinand Marcos Jr had 56 percent of the presidential vote, while Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter would be VP The son of late Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos yesterday cemented a landslide presidential election victory, after Filipinos bet a familiar but tainted dynasty could ease rampant poverty — while dismissing warnings that the clan’s return would worsen corruption and weaken democracy. With an initial count almost complete, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr had secured more than 56 percent of the vote — more than double the tally of his nearest rival, Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo, a lawyer and a liberal. His now unassailable lead of 16 million-plus votes spells another astonishing reversal in the fortunes of the Marcos family, who have gone