Nothing can convince Iran to halt n-plans: Russian analysts

By IANS/RIA Novosti,

Moscow : Russian analysts say there are no diplomatic means that would convince Iran to quit its nuclear plans after experts from the UN nuclear watchdog made an unsuccessful attempt to inspect Iranian military sites.

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“There are no ways, apart from military ones, that would make Iran drop its nuclear program,” said Yevgeny Satanovsky, head of the Middle East Institute think tank.

Satanovsky’s comment came after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced Wednesday that its latest mission to Iran failed as Iranian officials rejected IAEA requests to inspect an alleged explosives testing facility at Parchin, southeast of Tehran.

An IAEA report in November said there were “strong indicators of possible weapons development” at Parchin, an allegation Tehran strongly denies.

Anton Khlopkov, head of the Center for Energy and Security Studies, said that among the possible ways that may have made Iran review its nuclear plans could be political guarantees from the West that would ensure the safety of the Iranian regime.

Satanovsky, however, opposed this suggestion, saying: “Iran will never believe any Western guarantees, after the things that happened in Libya and are now unfolding on the territory of its closest ally in the region, Syria.”

“I suppose that nuclear bomb is the only thing Iran is dreaming about since only the nuclear potential will give it guarantees for safety from any attacks from the West,” Satanovsky said.

On Wednesday, at a meeting with Iranian nuclear scientists, the country’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that “despite what the enemy (the West) says, nuclear energy is directly linked to our national interests”.

Khamenei urged scientists to “continue the important and substantial” work.

Vladimir Sazhin, a senior researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Oriental Studies, said he believed Iran was working to create “an industrial infrastructure for a potential atomic weapon, but not the weapon itself”.

Sazhin also said “Iran’s entire regional politics will change after it acquires a potential for creating a nuclear weapon”.

But the country was likely to reach the level sufficient for producing a bomb no earlier than five or seven years, he said.

As the time for a diplomatic solution for Iran elapses, the Russian foreign ministry expressed concern Wednesday that the US may use its base in Kyrgyzstan — the Manas air base — in a military conflict against Iran because of its proximity to the Islamic republic.

The distance between Kyrgyz capital Bishkek and Tehran is about 2,000 km.

Western powers suspect Iran of seeking to create a nuclear bomb, and imposed an embargo on Iranian oil exports in January. Iran, in retaliation, cut oil supplies to Britain and France.