Defiant Iran Responds to West with Missiles as Sanctions Loom
Soares, Claire, The Independent (London, England)
Regime claims 'fabricated clamour' would cast cloud over talks in Geneva
Iran's Revolutionary Guards plan to test-fire today a long-range missile capable of hitting Israel, Egypt and Turkey, as well as US bases in the Gulf.
The test of the Shabab 3, which Iranian officials say has a range of 2,000km, is a calculated display of defiance just three days before a rare meeting between the Islamic Republic and world powers.
The show of military muscle began yesterday with short-range missiles blasting off from desert terrain as cries of "God is Great" echoed on the ground. The manoeuvres come during Iran's Holy Defence week, ahead of Thursday's crucial meeting in Geneva where representatives of the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany want Iran to agree to open its facilities to inspections designed to establish whether the plants are for generating power or building nuclear weapons.
The stakes for the meeting have been significantly raised following last week's revelation by the US President, Barack Obama, that Iran has been building a second uranium-enrichment plant, as part of a "disturbing pattern" of evasion.
The six powers are reported to be preparing "a set of transparency demands", which would include access to scientists, documents and computers, as well as the plant itself, hidden in a mountain near the holy city of Qom. According to The New York Times, Washington is pushing for the new site to be opened to inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency "within weeks".
Iran's envoy to the UN nuclear watchdog, Ali Asghar Soltanieh - who has said Iran would arrange for inspections "in the very near future" without giving any specific time frame - gave warning yesterday that "fabricated Western clamour" over the new plant would hinder progress at the meeting.
The US will attend the Geneva talks for the first time after the Obama administration reversed the stand-off policy adopted by George W. …