Iran Focus: London, Sep. 18 – Iran’s hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed on Saturday that Iran would continue its nuclear enrichment activities despite repeated pleas by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the European trio of Britain, France, and Germany who had been negotiating with the Islamic Republic in order to secure a peaceful outcome to the crisis. Iran Focus
London, Sep. 18 – Iran’s hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed on Saturday that Iran would continue its nuclear fuel cycle activities despite repeated pleas by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the European trio of Britain, France, and Germany who had been negotiating with the Islamic Republic in order to secure a peaceful outcome to the crisis.
A defiant Ahmadinejad told the United Nations General Assembly that Iran had an “inalienable right to have access to the nuclear fuel cycle”, a process which could lead to the development of the A-bomb.
The hard-line President told the international body that the Islamic Republic would “reconsider our entire approach to the nuclear issue” if the West resorts to a “language of force and threats”.
He went on to denounce “nuclear apartheid” and called on the UN to create an ad-hoc committee to “investigate as to how contrary to the NPT — material, technology and equipment for nuclear weapons were transferred to the Zionist regime”.
Earlier, the American news channel CNN aired an exclusive interview with Ahmadinejad in which he said that Tehran would “use every resource” at its disposal against efforts by the United States and EU-3 to try to prevent it from becoming a nuclear power, adding that it was the country’s “right” to carry out uranium enrichment.
In a press conference after his address to the UN, the Revolutionary Guards commander-turned-President said that Iran was willing to work with public and private foreign companies regarding the purchase of nuclear fuel.
Ahmadinejad’s speech drew criticism from Western leaders, adding to the likelihood of Tehran’s nuclear file being hauled before the UN Security Council, which can impose sanctions on the country.
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, speaking to the BBC television channel on Sunday, described the Iranian President’s speech as “disappointing and unhelpful”.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, however, refused to comment straight away on Iran’s proposals on the grounds that she had not had enough time to read the text of his speech. Nevertheless, she called on Iran to be “realistic” in talks with the world community aimed at breaking the standoff.
Meanwhile, on Saturday, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy, noting Iran’s insistence on developing the nuclear fuel cycle, said that Iran could still face UN Security Council referral despite its latest proposals, adding that there was nothing in Ahmadinejad’s speech that had convinced him to drop the threat.
In Tehran, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi on Sunday warned the UN nuclear watchdog to refrain from a radical and unilateral attitude towards Iran’s nuclear case or else it would have to face adverse consequences.
“If the IAEA puts aside its legal and technical work in its next day session and acts politically, the atmosphere will become radical”, Iran’s state-run news agency quoted Asefi as saying.
The IAEA’s 35-nation board of governors will gather in Vienna on Monday where they will decide whether to send Iran’s nuclear file to the Security Council, as the U.S. has been seeking.