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Iranian Lawmakers Threaten To Keep Out UN Inspectors

Iranian parliamentarians on the floor of the legislature (file photo) (Fars) September 5, 2006 -- The Iranian parliament's Commission for National Security and Foreign Policy today approved the outlines of a bill to suspend entry to Iran of UN inspectors.

The bill's rapporteur for the commission, Kazem Jalali, said it will be enforced in case the UN Security Council imposes limitations on Iran over its nuclear program.

The Security Council set a deadline of August 31 for Iran to halt uranium enrichment and other sensitive activities or face the possibility of sanctions.

Iran ignored that deadline but said it is ready for "serious talks."

Jalali accused international bodies of ignoring what he described as Iran's nuclear rights.

Iranian officials have insisted the country's nuclear program is peaceful.

But the United States and others have accused Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has accused Iran of obfuscation and deception regarding its nuclear activities, and reported that Tehran has not provided sufficient evidence that its nuclear program is entirely civilian.


What Would Sanctions Mean?

What Would Sanctions Mean?

Economic sanctions could further undermine Iran's already shaky economy (Fars)

MOVING TOWARD SANCTIONS: If the United Nations Security Council imposes sanctions on Iran, domestic support for Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad will wane, according to ALEX VATANKA, Eurasia editor for Jane's Information Group.
Vatanka told a February 24 RFE/RL briefing that "economic sanctions will hurt the average Iranian" and, consequently, many "will blame the ruling clerics" for making life difficult and "impairing the country's long term development."
Vatanka said sanctions would be a serious challenge to the Iranian government. If harsh economic sanctions were imposed, Iran's poorest population will be hurt the hardest -- and might react "as they did in the 1970s and protest in the streets." Sanctions on travel, Vatanka said, would hurt a many Iranians because "Iran is a nation of small traders" who depend on the ability to travel to earn an income. According to Vatanka, unemployment in Iran is estimated at 30 percent, "so small trading is essential to survival." Although current U.S. sanctions "haven't worked," he said, "Iranians fear an oil embargo." He stressed that "oil revenues are a major part of the economy, so it is critical to look at this sector."
Should negotiations with the European Union and the UN fail, Vatanka believes that Iran would follow a "North Korea model," since Ahmadinejad's base of support among the "Islamist militias" has been "urging withdrawal from the NPT [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty]." The Iranian government's "tactic" so far, Vatanka said, is governed by the belief that "by shouting the loudest, you'll get concessions [from the West]."


Listen to the complete panel discussion (about 60 minutes):
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THE COMPLETE STORY: RFE/RL's coverage of the controversy surrounding Iran's nuclear program.


An annotated timeline of Iran's nuclear program.