Chinese president Hu Jintao calls on Iran for a serious response to concerns over its nuclear program, receives Olmert in Beijing Wednesday

The Chinese leader also said diplomatic efforts should continue in order to achieve a long-term settlement. This is probably the same answer the Israeli prime minister will get to his plea for tougher action against Iran during his four days of talks with the Chinese president and prime minister in in Beijing.
Hu’s call wound up Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani’s two days of talks with Chinese leaders. It also followed Israel’s denial of a London Sunday Times rerun of a report that Israel is preparing to destroy Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities with tactical nuclear weapons. The paper cited what it called “several Israeli military sources.” debkafile notes that The New Yorker was first out with this story in February 2006 and nothing came of it.
The paper cites the targeted sites as being the enrichment plant in Natanz, the heavy water plant at Arak and a uranium conversion plant in Isfahan. These locations appear routinely in all publications but, according to most intelligence files, Iran’s clandestine facilities are hidden from sight either deep underground or in quite different places. So Israeli air force bombers following the Sunday Times report would strike empty or decoy locations.
Iranian spokesmen hinted at this last month when they contended that Iran is a big country with plenty of room to hide its centrifuges and other sensitive operations.
As for the claim that Israel would use tactical nuclear weapons by a method that would not release a radioactive cloud over the rest of Iran and Persian Gulf, this too is incompatible with other foreign updates of Israel’s development of a “clean” tactical hydrogen bomb.
Some Israeli sources welcomed the Sunday Times report for lifting Israel’s deterrent image from its post-Lebanon War recession. On the other hand, it provided fodder for such statements as that delivered by Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator during his two-day visit to Beijing. He said Iran would adhere to the terms of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but that could change if Iran were threatened. It would be up to Tehran to decide what constituted a threat and justification for developing a nuclear bomb.
Olmert will be celebrating with Chinese leaders the 15th anniversary of diplomatic relations. He will be received cordially and with great courtesy. This however, will not affect flourishing Sino-Iranian relations, because Tehran is Beijing’ senior trading partner in the Middle East, not Israel. And were it not for Chinese sales of nuclear and ballistic missile technology to the Islamic Republic, there might be no need for the United States or Israel to contemplate military action to scotch the rising nuclear threat from Tehran.

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