Iran’s president insists his country’s right to a nuclear programme is non-negotiable despite increasing pressure for it to accept a Western-backed compromise deal.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Sunday that the West had no choice but to cooperate with Tehran. He backed that up today by reportedly saying cooperation would be in the West’s best interests.
But the US and Russia both expressed impatience at the weekend. Barack Obama said time was “running out” on a deal, while President Medvedev indicated that Russia could use “other means” if the current discussions led nowhere. For most observers that was a hint at further sanctions, something Russia has resisted up to now.
Today Russia announced that a nuclear reactor it is building in Iran will not be finished this year as planned. Officials cited technical reasons, but some diplomats say Moscow uses the Bushehr plant as leverage in its relations with Tehran.
The plan put to Iran more than three weeks ago involves Tehran sending uranium to Russia and France to be enriched and turned into fuel. Iran is unwilling to part with its low-enriched uranium, something the West fears could be used to make nuclear weapons.