Bronwen Maddox of the London Times provides an update on the Iran nuclear situation.
EVERYTHING is set for the row over Iranâ€™s nuclear work to land before the UN Security Council in New York. The council is preparing to take up the baton next week.
Yet until this weekâ€™s acrimonious and muddled meeting at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna finally ends, there is a hovering uncertainty that this will happen.
Yesterday the tone hardened. Russia denied that it was offering Iran a way to keep a vestige of the most controversial research. The US warned Iran of â€œconsequencesâ€ if it persisted with uranium enrichment. Britain, France and Germany, who orchestrated the IAEA vote that referred the row to the council, said that what is known about Iranâ€™s research could be just the tip of the iceberg: missile designs which have emerged this year could point to a secret military programme.
And Iran, in its inimitable vocabulary, warned the US that it, too, could cause â€œharm and painâ€, and threatened to disrupt oil markets. It attacked US â€œwarmongersâ€, saying: â€œSurely we are not naive about the USâ€™s intention to flex muscles. But we also see the bone fractures underneath.â€
Ms. Maddox writes that the Security Council will be reluctant to impose sanctions. Nobody expects anything to happen soon.