Atomic Board Favors Giving Iran Deadline
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
NY Times 9.12.2003
Filed at 2:55 a.m. ET
VIENNA, Austria (AP) -- After days of intense lobbying by the United States, diplomats appeared likely to set an October deadline for Iran to prove it is not trying to make nuclear weapons.
Ahead of that meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency's board of governors, Iran warned that it will not accept any deadline that carries with it the possibility of future U.N. Security Council involvement.
But diplomats said that by late Thursday, more than 20 members of the 35-nation board had indicated they would vote in favor of the resolution, with an unknown number of likely abstentions.
Russia, whose vote carries substantial political weight, had initially opposed the concept of a deadline but now was leaning toward abstaining instead of opposing, said the diplomats. China, another important board nation, also was likely to abstain, they said.
Suspended since Wednesday, to allow the 35 board member nations to meet informally, the meeting Friday was expected to vote on a U.S.-backed resolution urging Iran to essentially disprove by October that it is running a covert nuclear weapons program. The United States and its allies have used the two-day suspension to lobby other countries for support.
While not outlining consequences, the resolution sets up the possibility of U.N. Security Council involvement. That would happen if the board rules at its next meeting in November that Iran ignored IAEA demands and was in noncompliance of part of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
The United States had been pushing for a resolution finding Iran in noncompliance at this meeting. But lack of support from most other board members scuttled that plan.
The U.S.-backed push for a deadline got a boost after the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency came out in support of it earlier in the week, saying he favored ``an immediate disclosure of all nuclear activities'' on the part of Iran.
Reflecting the concerns driving America and its allies, IAEA Director General Mohammed ElBaradei, in separate comments, warned that he and his agency might soon be unable to verify whether Tehran was diverting nuclear material into a weapons program unless Iran quickly agreed to fully cooperate. Those fears, expressed at a closed session of the board meeting, were relayed by diplomats present. http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/international/AP-Nuclear-Agency-Iran.html
"...diplomats appeared likely to set an October deadline for Iran to prove it is not trying to make nuclear weapons.
But diplomats said that by late Thursday, more than 20 members of the 35-nation board had indicated they would vote in favor of the resolution, with an unknown number of likely abstentions."
Sounds as though the pressure is mounting against Iran.
If the White House and its allies can continue to apply pressure from different fronts, I think the regime will continue to "crack."