The New York Times leads with a story about an ultimatum that Russia gave to Iran regarding its enrichment program.

According to story, Igor Ivanov, the Secretary of the Russian Security Council, informed one of the Iranian nuclear negotiators that Russia would not ship fuel for the Bushehr reactor unless Iran suspends its enrichment program.

The New York Times continues to surprise me with its sloppy reporting on Russia. The ultimatum story may well be true, although Igor Ivanov doesn't strike me as a person who would deliver a strongly-worded ultimatum - more likely it was more of an advice and explanation of the reasons behind the recent delays with fuel shipment. What I find incredible is that the NYT reporters seem puzzled about Russia's motives. Haven't they heard about the nuclear cooperation agreement that Russia and the United States are negotiating? Or about Clay Sell's recent visit to Moscow? Reporting on that would be a real story. Instead, we get a report on a leak from the Russian Security Council (of uncertain quality I believe).

On the substance of the issue, I already wrote that in my view it is a mistake to link the shipment of fuel to Bushehr with pretty much anything. If Russia does it, it would damage the prospects for establishing nuclear fuel supply guarantees in the future. I'm afraid the short-term considerations will prevail in this situation, but it is still possible (NYT reporting notwithstanding) that the Bushehr fuel will not be affected by whatever sanctions the international community may impose on Iran.