YESTERDAY'S report to the UN Security Council on Iran's nuclear programme from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was of little value for the meeting of the Council on Monday at which the United States will take the lead in proposing further sanctions against Iran for its failure to cooperate with the IAEA. The report confirms that Iran has not suspended uranium enrichment as previously demanded by the Council and now has 3'000 centrifuges. Information provided by Iran and included in the report is at least two years old. The IAEA says that Iran's attitude was “reactive” rather than “proactive” and that further inquiries are needed to check the accuracy of information provided.

A different perspective on Iran's nuclear policies emerged yesterday when it became known that Hossein Mousavian, its chief nuclear negotiator under former President Khatami, had been arrested and accused of spying for Britain. The charges against Mr Moussavian will be seen in the West as further evidence of the unstable political situation in Iran. President Khatami, widely considered to be a moderate, is thought to be the strongest rival of his successor, the volatile President Ahmadinejad; in this reading, Moussavian's arrest is a strike by Ahmadinejad against his predecessor.


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