The expected release Thursday of a key United Nations report on Tehran’s nuclear program kicks off a month of international diplomacy that could severely test the Obama administration’s Iran policy, said U.S. and Western diplomats.
Washington and other Western powers are pressing Mohamed ElBaradei, director-general of the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency, to include in the report a detailed summary of Tehran’s alleged efforts to weaponize its nuclear technologies, said these diplomats.
U.S. and other Western officials view the information as potentially crucial to the Obama administration’s efforts to rally international support for new economic sanctions on Tehran. President Barack Obama has set a late September deadline for Iran to respond to his calls for direct talks on the nuclear issue or face greater financial penalties.
Many U.S. and European officials who are focused on the IAEA, however, said they remain doubtful Mr. ElBaradei will include the summary Western countries want. Mr. ElBaradei will head his last Board of Governors meeting next month before handing power to Japan’s Yukiya Amano in November. [continued…]
Iranian prosecutors called for the death penalty in a mass trial of some of the country’s leading reformists, including six former ministers, who stand accused of fomenting riots in the wake of June’s disputed presidential elections.
The prosecution said that the men, including a key instigator of Iran’s reformist movement, had been plotting to topple the Islamic regime. It called the huge street demonstrations against alleged electoral fraud an attempt to stage a “soft coup” against the government.
Reformist critics denounced the proceedings as a “show trial”. It was the fourth mass trial so far in what opponents of the theocratic regime see as a concerted attempt to uproot all moderate opposition to the hardline leadership of President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad. [continued…]
An Iranian opposition leader on Monday released what he said was an account by a prisoner raped by his jailers in a challenge to the country’s leadership which has sought to silence claims of torture and abuses in the postelection crackdown.
The allegations of torture and even rapes against imprisoned opposition protesters have become a source of embarrassment to the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iran’s clerical leadership as they try to put behind them the turmoil of the disputed June presidential election. [continued…]
Ian, whose nuclear facilities are under threat of possible Israeli military strikes, has enlisted the support of more than 100 non-aligned nations in its push for a ban on such attacks.
The 118-nation Nonaligned Movement backs Tehran in a letter submitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency endorsing Iran’s plan to submit a resolution on the topic when IAEA nations meet next month. [continued…]