Saturday, September 1, 2012

Iran scores with summit but wrongfooted by nuclear report

TEHRAN — Iran scored a point against Western efforts to isolate it by hosting a summit this week of 120 Non-Aligned Movement countries, but its bid to boost its prestige was wrongfooted by a new report on its controversial nuclear activities, analysts said.

Despite star guests Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and UN chief Ban Ki-moon strongly criticising Tehran policies during the summit, Iranian leaders and media were describing the event, in the words of the state newspaper Iran, as "the biggest success in Iran's history."

Several outlets saw it as "a diplomatic defeat of the United States and the West" and hailed what they saw as boost to Iran's regional diplomacy.

The summit "enabled Iran to show it still has friends and trade partners despite international efforts to isolate it," one analyst, Dina Esfandiary of Britain's International Institute for Strategic Studies, told AFP.

Smack in the middle of it, though, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its latest report on Iran that recorded an increase in the number of uranium enrichment centrifuges.

And it said a clean-up at a suspect military base in Parchin had "hampered" IAEA inspectors' ability to determine whether explosives tests for warheads had taken place. Read More