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Ahmadinejad shaken by disclosure of nuclear facility


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Photo: Getty Images

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Photo: Getty Images

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Photo: Getty Images

If nothing else, the disclosure that Iran is building yet another underground nuclear facility has had the welcome effect of wiping the smile off the face of the country's highly idiosyncratic president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Until the Obama administration dropped the bombshell that it knew what the Iranian regime was up to, Mr Ahmadinejad had been enjoying himself, provoking mass walkouts from the United Nations general assembly in New York with his claims that the Holocaust was a myth.

He had even managed to persuade some of the more gullible delegates that Iran would take a constructive approach to this week's scheduled talks over the future of its nuclear programme.

But by Friday, Mr Ahmadinejad's composure looked shaken when he appeared at a news conference shortly after US president Barack Obama had disclosed that Iran had been developing a second uranium enrichment facility at the holy city of Qom without bothering to inform the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency.

The revelation that Iran had been forced to admit it had embarked on another undeclared nuclear site has severely damaged Mr Ahmadinejad's credibility at a crucial moment in the international stand-off over Iran's nuclear ambitions.

To judge by his relaxed demeanour last week, Mr Ahmadinejad was confident that he would be able to lure the Obama administration into the same diplomatic trap.

Mr Obama is so keen to make a break with the hostility that has characterised US-Iranian relations for the past 30 years that he has agreed to participate in direct negotiations with Iran.

But if Mr Ahmadinejad thought he could once more indulge in the politics of procrastination that have served him so well to date he has received a rude wake-up call.

Far from being seduced by Mr Ahmadinejad's hints that Tehran is interested in forging better relations with the West, Mr Obama has shown that he is rapidly losing patience.

If the US and other western powers are prepared to make concessions on their stockpiles of nuclear weapons, then why not Iran? But rather than appearing as an honest broker, Mr Ahmadinejad came across as shifty and disingenuous.

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He is now likely to find himself under sustained pressure when Iran gives its response to an offer from world powers to end the international stand-off.

© Telegraph

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