Satellite image of new uranium enrichment facility being built near the city of Qom, Iran. (AP photo)

Satellite image of new uranium enrichment facility being built near the city of Qom, Iran. (AP photo)

>> Ahmadinejad on Friday “dodged a question about whether Iran had sufficient enriched uranium to manufacture a nuclear weapon” and “says President Barack Obama will regret” his statement calling for Iran to comply with international law “or be held accountable”

Excerpts from the Washington Post story: “President Obama and the leaders of France and Britain on Friday blasted Iran’s construction of a previously unknown uranium enrichment facility and demanded that Tehran immediately fulfill its obligations under international law or risk the imposition of harsh new sanctions. ‘Iran is breaking rules that all nations must follow,’ Obama said, detailing how the facility at Qom had been under construction for years without being disclosed, as required, to the International Atomic Energy Association. ‘International law is not an empty promise.’ British Prime Minister Gordon Brown accused Iran of ‘serial deception’ that he said ‘will shock and anger the whole international community, and it will harden our resolve….We will not let this matter rest,’ Brown said. ‘. . . Iran must abandon any military ambitions for its nuclear programs.’ Iran acknowledged the existence of the facility for the first time on Monday, in a letter to the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency. The letter said ‘a new pilot fuel enrichment plant is under construction in the country,’ said Marc Vidricaire, a spokesman for the watchdog agency. ‘The letter stated that the enrichment level would be up to 5 percent.'”

Excerpts from the New York Times story: “American officials said that they expected the announcement to make it easier to build a case for international sanctions if Iran blocked inspectors or refused to halt its nuclear program. ‘They have cheated three times,’ one senior administration official with access to the intelligence said of the Iranians late on Thursday evening. ‘And they have now been caught three times.’ The official was referring to the revelations by an Iranian dissident group that led to the discovery of the underground plant at Natanz in 2002, and the evidence developed two years ago — after Iran’s computer networks were pierced by American intelligence agencies — that the country had secretly sought to design a nuclear warhead. American officials believe that effort was ordered halted in late 2003. After months of talking about the need for engagement, Mr. Obama appears to have made a leap toward viewing tough new sanctions against Iran as an inevitability. He avoided President Ahmadinejad at the opening of the United Nations General Assembly this week, despite promises made during the presidential campaign and after he came into office that he would seek dialogue with Iranian leaders. Instead, Mr. Obama spent much of his time in New York pressing the case to leaders, particularly those of Russia and China, that time had run out for Iran and that the Security Council would soon need to act to rein in Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.”