AFP: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad remains defiant ahead of the latest talks with the European Union seeking a solution to the crisis over Iran’s nuclear programme, media reported on Thursday. TEHRAN (AFP) President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad remains defiant ahead of the latest talks with the European Union seeking a solution to the crisis over Iran’s nuclear programme, media reported on Thursday.
Iran’s new chief negotiator, Saeed Jalili, is to meet EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana in London on Friday, just ahead of a key EU report over the Iranian atomic drive.
“Iran today, under the guidance and wisdom of the supreme leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) and its resistance, has become a nuclear nation,” Ahmadinejad was quoted as telling prayer leaders in Tehran late Wednesday.
“After this, no-one can threaten the Iranian nation as we have all stood united so far and they (the West) did not do anything,” he added in the comments, reported by the state IRNA agency Thursday.
His remarks indicate there is little chance of Iran giving in to the West’s main demand for ending the crisis — that it suspend uranium enrichment, a process that can be used both to make atomic fuel and a nuclear weapon.
Jalili met Solana for the first time in Rome last month just after the sudden resignation of Ali Larijani as top negotiator.
Larijani was seen by observers as a relative moderate in the nuclear standoff but Jalili is a more intransigent figure who is a close ally of the hardline president.
Meanwhile, state television reported that Jalili had already arrived in London. It appeared that he was leading the delegation alone, in contrast to the last occasion when Larijani also took part.
Solana must report to the UN Security Council by the end of November on Tehran’s willingness to comply with the council’s demand to freeze uranium enrichment.
The UN nuclear watchdog, in its latest report on the Iranian nuclear drive, said Iran was cooperating but also commented that Tehran was still pressing ahead with uranium enrichment work.
International Atomic Energy Agency director general Mohamed ElBaradei has said the body is still unable to confirm that Iran’s nuclear programme is peaceful.
The IAEA has been “unable to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities,” ElBaradei complained last week.
But according to Ahmadinejad, “the IAEA report is a great victory for the Iranian nation and has annuled the enemy’s efforts.”
The United States wants a third set of UN sanctions against Tehran to punish its defiance but Washington’s diplomatic drive is being held up by Chinese and Russian reluctance.
The US State Department said Wednesday officials of six world powers would meet in Paris on Saturday for new talks to discuss the text of a possible new UN sanctions resolution.
The meeting had originally been scheduled for November 19, but was cancelled after China said it would not be able to take part.
Washington accuses Tehran of using its programme as cover for a drive to develop an atomic bomb. Iran strongly denies that charge, saying it wants only to generate electricity.