Behind closed doors, Iran’s nuclear programme is being discussed today by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. They aim to work out a statement that Western powers hope will be adopted by the Council as a whole when it begins discussing the issue next week.
In the meantime, the war of words is intensifying. Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State said: “We may face no greater challenge from a single country,” adding that Iran’s vision of the Middle East was totally opposed to Washington’s.
At the same time, Tehran’s tone remains threatening, with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warning that the West would suffer more than his country if it tries to stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
The UN nuclear watchdog’s board this week forwarded a report on Iran to the Security Council for possible action. The Council can impose sanctions but most diplomats expect it to issue a statement first urging Iran to comply with resolutions by the International Atomic Energy Agency’s board that it halt all uranium enrichment activities.