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BTL:Iran Defies UN on Uranium Enrichment, as US Pushes for Sanctions &...

...Contemplates "Other Consequences" ~ Interview with Arang Keshavarzian, assistant professor of government at Connecticut College, conducted by Between the Lines' Scott Harris
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Iran Defies U.N. on Uranium Enrichment, as U.S. Pushes for Sanctions and Contemplates "Other Consequences"

Interview with Arang Keshavarzian, assistant professor of government at Connecticut College, conducted by Scott Harris

Iran, having defied a U.N. Security Council deadline of Aug. 31 to suspend its enrichment of uranium, is now facing possible economic sanctions. The Bush administration, declaring it will stand in the way of what it claims are Iranian ambitions to develop nuclear weapons, has expressed doubts that a final effort at talks between Tehran and the European Union will halt Iran's uranium enrichment program. Iran denies that it is working to develop nuclear weapons and claims its research is focused solely on building civilian atomic power technology.

Iran insists that as a signatory of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, it has the right to convert and enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. But Washington contends that Iran forfeited that right when Tehran admitted that it had deceived inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency for some 17 years.

Iran did not respond positively to a package of economic and diplomatic incentives offered by members of the U.N. Security Council in June in exchange for a halt to its uranium enrichment operation. The Iranian government may feel that it can evade sanctions due to the lucrative economic ties it has with Russia and China, both veto-wielding members of the Security Council. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Arang Keshavarzian, assistant professor of government at Connecticut College and an editor at Middle East Report, who examines the likelihood that the Bush administration is contemplating a military strike on Iran's nuclear infrastructure in the event that diplomacy fails to resolve the standoff.

Read Arang Keshavarzian'sarticles online at: www.merip.org Professor Keshavarzian is the author of the forthcoming book, "Bazaar and State in Iran."

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