New York Times: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran said Wednesday that an American intelligence reports conclusion that Iran was not currently developing a nuclear weapons program was a big victory for his country. He said the finding was a result of Irans resistance to international pressure over its nuclear program. The New York Times
By NAZILA FATHI
Published: December 6, 2007
TEHRAN, Dec. 5 President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran said Wednesday that an American intelligence reports conclusion that Iran was not currently developing a nuclear weapons program was a big victory for his country. He said the finding was a result of Irans resistance to international pressure over its nuclear program.
This report tried to extract America from its impasse, but it also is a declaration of the Iranian peoples victory against the great powers, Mr. Ahmadinejad said at a rally in Ilam, a province in western Iran, the ISNA student news agency reported.
With the help of God, our people have resisted, are resisting and will resist until the end, he said. They are disappointed that they cannot make you compromise even an iota, he added, referring to those pressing Iran to halt its nuclear program.
Mr. Ahmadinejad said that Iran would move ahead with its nuclear enrichment program, adding that the report suggested that the Americans had admitted to a mistake in judging Irans program. But their attitude does not allow them to admit their mistake, and so they have to convey it in other words, the news agency quoted him as saying. We tell them, It is all right, and it is enough that you are confessing to your mistakes.
The report, a National Intelligence Estimate released Monday, concluded that Iran halted a clandestine nuclear arms program in 2003. Iran has contended all along that its nuclear program is peaceful and that it wants to enrich uranium to produce fuel for its nuclear plants.
Mr. Ahmadinejad and other authorities here have ignored the part of the report saying that Iran pursued secret nuclear weapons activities until 2003, and they have addressed only the part that says Irans nuclear activities have been for peaceful purposes since then.
Ali Larijani, a former nuclear negotiator and now the representative of Irans supreme religious leader at the Supreme National Security Council, said Wednesday that the important part of the report was its indication that the current program was peaceful, ISNA reported. He did not refer to the issue of Irans clandestine program cited in the report, but dismissed it indirectly, saying other subjects were included for ill intentions otherwise the report would have looked bad.
The Associated Press reported that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in Ethiopia on Wednesday, said, It is the very strong view of the administration that the Iranian regime remains a problematic and dangerous regime and that the international community must continue to unite around the Security Council resolutions that it has passed.
Ms. Rice reminded reporters that the United Nations Security Council had already demanded that Iran halt its uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities, because those enriching and reprocessing activities permit, if they are perfected, a state to acquire fissile material for a nuclear weapon.
Russias foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, said Wednesday at a news conference in Moscow that President Vladimir V. Putin urged Iran at a meeting on Tuesday with Saeed Jalili, Irans new nuclear negotiator, to heed international demands, including those for a freeze on its uranium enrichment program, the Interfax news agency reported.
Iran counts on Russia as an ally not to back tougher economic sanctions against it. Russia is building Irans first nuclear power plant.
The report made headlines in more than a dozen major Iranian newspapers on Wednesday. The state-run daily paper Iran called it a shock for the White House. The headline of another state-run daily, Hamshahri, was Bush Under Pressure From the Media.
But at least two independent daily newspapers cautioned the authorities not to rush to optimistic conclusions. An editorial in Jomhouri Eslami, an influential conservative paper, warned that the report could be a trap for Iran. It said dividing Irans nuclear activities into two periods, one before 2003 and one after that, was mischief by the Americans to convince the world that international pressure against Iran should continue.
A reformist paper, Etemad Melli, said Americans could use the section in the report about Irans weapons program to exaggerate the threat posed by Irans nuclear program and to seek tougher economic sanctions.