Tehran, Moscow agree in principle on a joint uranium enrichment venture on Russian soil – as debkafile predicted Feb. 24. Russia rescues Tehran fro

The accord was announced Sunday, Feb. 26, by Gholamreza Aghazadeh, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, after two days of talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Kiriyenko at the Bushehr nuclear reactor.
debkafile reports: The Russians, by going along with Iran’s demands, have rescued the Islamic Republic from the threat of a US-European-Israel complaint to the UN Security Council. Referral of Iran’s nuclear breaches of the NPT was to have taken place after the critical IAEA board session in Vienna March 6.
Now, the Russian delegate will be able to ask for time to work on the details of the Moscow-Tehran accord. The Iranians will thus buy several precious months to continue to process uranium – their main objective in engaging in diplomacy in the first place. The hands of Washington, the EU and the UN are meanwhile tied over referral to the Security Council by the shadow of Russian veto hanging over any resolution penalizing Iran.
Moscow has thus delivered a sharp setback to the US-Israeli drive to put spokes in the wheels of Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
debkafile adds: Kirienko leads a Kremlin faction that advocates breaking ranks with Washington and Europe and striking out for a bilateral Moscow-Tehran deal that under certain conditions releases the brakes on the Islamic republic’s nuclear program,. President Vladimir Putin would have preferred to go along with the West. He was overruled by the Kirienko faction.
Our military sources report that by pulling off this accord in principle with Iran, Kirienko frees Iran to enrich uranium up to weapons grade. Israel is thus confronted with a potential strategic threat as grave – or graver – than the Hamas rise to power in Palestinian government.
In the space of a month, the two developments have tightened the Iranian noose around the Jewish state.
debkafile reported earlier that the Russian go-it-alone initiative had aroused deep concern in Washington, Jerusalem and Vienna. They feared to that to succeed, Kirienko would bow to a deal that permitted hands-on Iranian involvement in the manufacturing process and decisions on quantities of the joint uranium enrichment venture in Russia. This would remove the safeguards demanded by the US and Europe against the Russian-Iranian enterprise turning out weapons-grade uranium.
According to information reaching Washington and Jerusalem, Kirienko also favors letting Iran continue enrichment at home simultaneously with the Russian-hosted enterprise.
American and Israeli suspicions were first aroused, according to our intelligence sources, by the odd behavior of Gholam Reza Aghazadeh’s delegation upon its arrival in Moscow Monday, Feb. 20, to discuss the joint plant in Russia. Its maneuvers had the appearance of a decoy operation to mystify and draw attention away from the real action elsewhere. A bulletin at the end of the day reported no progress, followed by a continuation Tuesday, which the Iranians abruptly left without explanation. Then, too, an Iranian official demanded that resumed diplomacy with the European Union take place separately with each government instead of with a joint UK-French-German delegation.
Washington took this as a declaration of divorce between the Tehran-Moscow track and Iran’s dealings with Europe and the UN nuclear watchdog in Vienna and a full stop to the international drive for diplomatic action to arrest Iran’s progress toward a bomb.

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