“President Ahmadinejad demonstrated yesterday that he has become a master of playing cat and mouse with the West — and this time the mouse was real.
Once again, the Iranian leader offered a last-minute concession to head off the West’s drive for new sanctions against the Islamic republic. At the same time, Iran thumbed its nose at UN restrictions on its ballistic missiles programme by sending a rocket into space carrying a mouse, two turtles and some worms.
In an interview on state television, Mr Ahmadinejad said that Iran had no problem shipping enriched uranium abroad in a deal that Tehran had resisted for months. The surprise announcement came as the West prepared to ask Russia and China to back UN sanctions on the Iranian energy sector, central bank and Revolutionary Guards — the first UN sanctions since March 2008.
Political directors from the “big three” EU powers — Britain, France and Germany — are to hold a telephone conference call with their US counterpart tomorrow before consulting Russia and China later in the day.
Western officials acknowledged that Iran’s about-face on the uranium swap would undercut their case.
While they mulled the implications of Mr Ahmadinejad’s latest move, Tehran’s state television showed the Kavoshgar-3 (Explorer-3) rocket blasting off, carrying what it called living organisms. The ISNA news agency said that the capsule returned to Earth with its rather unusual “passengers”.
Mr Ahmadinejad hailed the launch as a breakthrough that would help to break “the global domineering system” of Western powers. At a ceremony for a new satellite he said that Iran hoped to send astronauts into space soon.”
Source: Times Online