International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director Mohammed El Baradei reported that his agency "cannot provide the required assurance about the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program." He called on Tehran to take the "long overdue decision" to cooperate with the IAEA. However, El Baradei also said that Iran may have temporarily stopped its nuclear program at least to stave off a fresh set of harsher sanctions as his agency did not find new centrifuges in Natanz enrichment facility nor did it find new materials. El Baradei had already proposed last month to suspend technical aid to Iran, so far only doled out to Saddam Hussein's Iraq, which will find broad support in the board. Despite repeated assertions by different Iranian officials to not give up their "inalienable right" to install 54,000 centrifuges to enrich uranium, Iran has not announced the deployment of 3000 centrifuge cascade at Natanz. Tehran is supposed to have already installed 500 centrifuges in mostly underground halls leading to suspicion of their intent.
The continued lack of cooperation seems to be driving even friendly nations to frustration. Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing asked Tehran to "to step up cooperation" with the IAEA. A recent BBC World Service poll of 28,000 people in 27 countries found Israel, Iran, and the US to be the nations with the most "negative influence" in the world.
Meanwhile, some analysts discounted threats emanating from hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to its neighbors citing outdated military infrastructure and crumbling economy as reasons. Centre for Strategic and International Studies researcher Anthony Cordesman says that the Iranian military is a serious force "in defence of its country" but "has very little capacity project outside the country." Conceding that Iran may have "asymmetric capacity" to engage the U.S., Cordesman said that the military does not have any "conventional warfare" staying power. He also discounted alarms from within the US Administration that portrays Iranian nuclear threat as imminent.