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.
Sitting in a lotus position, four men weave glittering beads through gold thread on an organza sheet, carefully constructing a wedding dress that would soon wow crowds at Paris Fashion Week. For once, the French couturier behind the design, Julien Fournie, is determined to put these craftsmen in the spotlight. His new collection, which showed in Paris on Tuesday, was entirely made with fabrics from Mumbai. He said that a sort of “design imperialism” means that French fashion houses often play down that their fabrics are made outside France. “The houses which don’t admit it are perhaps afraid of losing their clientele,” Fournie
A court in Thailand sentenced a 27-year-old political activist to 28 years in prison on Thursday for posting messages on Facebook that it said defamed the country’s monarchy, while two young women charged with the same offense continued a hunger strike after being hospitalized. The court in the northern province of Chiang Rai found that Mongkhon Thirakot contravened the lese majeste law in 14 of 27 posts for which he was arrested in August last year. The law covers the king, queen and heirs, and any regent. The lese majeste law carries a prison term of three to 15 years per incident for
A gunman killed 10 people and wounded 10 others at a Los Angeles-area ballroom dance club following a Lunar New Year celebration, setting off a manhunt for the suspect in the latest mass shooting tragedy in an American community. Captain Andrew Meyer of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department said Sunday that the wounded were taken to hospitals and their conditions range from stable to critical. He said the 10 people died at the scene in the city of Monterey Park. Meyer said people were “pouring out of the location screaming” when officers arrived at around 10:30 pm Saturday. He said officers then
INSTABILITY: The country has seen a 33 percent increase in land that cultivates poppies since the military took over the government in 2021, a UN report said The production of opium in Myanmar has flourished since the military’s seizure of power, with the cultivation of poppies up by one-third in the past year, as eradication efforts have dropped and the faltering economy has led more people toward the drug trade, a UN report released yesterday showed. Last year, the first full growing season since the military wrested control of the country from the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi in 2021, saw a 33 percent increase in Myanmar’s cultivation area to 40,100 hectares, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime report said. “Economic, security and governance disruptions