Tehran was forced to eat crow and backtrack on its ploy for winning international recognition for its nuclear program by showing Non-Aligned Summit leaders and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon around its nuclear sites. The tour was planned for Wednesday, Aug. 29. It would have been a mockery of US-promoted nuclear diplomacy, International Atomic Energy Agency’s criticism and Israeli threats by circumventing them all to claim recognition of its nuclear program by the 120-member NAM and the UN Secretary in person.
However, debkafile reports that Washington intervened Tuesday and “advised” NAM participants as well as Ban to turn Tehran down on its nuclear tour, which was to have included the suspected nuclear-related explosives testing lab at Parchin. “It is the IAEA that should have been given access to Parchin,” said a Western diplomat in Vienna.
Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast Tuesday, Aug. 28, consequently contradicted the Dep. Foreign Minister’s offer to show Non-Aligned Organization’s leaders meeting in Tehran around its nuclear installations and the Fars official news agency’s announcement Aug. 25 of the tour.
debkafile’s Iranian and intelligence sources report exclusively that Tuesday, Iran’s leaders were still arguing over which NAM leaders to invite for the nuclear tour and whether to focus on a single nuclear site or split the visitors up into small groups to tour several installations.
Revolutionary Guards commander Gen. Ali Jafary and the head of the Nuclear Energy Commission Dr. Fereydoun Abbasi Davani argue the case of showcasing (the presumably sanitized) Parchin to the entire group and the UN Secretary to impress upon them the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.
Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani and Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi urge splitting the visitors up into groups for going around uranium enrichment facilities in Natanz and Isfahan, the reactor at Bushehr and also Parchin. A comprehensive tour would win all parts of the nuclear program international validity, they say.
It will be up to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini, as usual in the Islamic Republic of Iran, to pick sides. Some sources in Tehran say he is considering leading the nuclear tour in person, which would be a rare public appearance for him at an international forum.
debkafile’s Washington sources report that Iran’s maneuvers catch US Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman in the middle of a new low-profile bid to solicit the support of Moscow and Middle East powers for fresh US-Iranian dialogue to resolve the nuclear controversy.
The Obama administration will only be able to watch helplessly as its unceasing effort to solve the Iranian nuclear crisis by international diplomacy is confronted with dozens of world leaders and the UN Secretary touring the sites forbidden to the nuclear watchdog. It will also be a nasty smack in the face for Prime Minister Netanyahu who asked Ban Ki-moon not to attend the NAM summit in Tehran and was snubbed.