Iran Vows Resistance in N. Standoff

A00233605.jpgTEHRAN (FNA) – President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Wednesday that Iran has brought world powers to their knees and successfully resisted US-led efforts to get Tehran to halt its uranium enrichment.Ahmadinejad delivered a speech to cheering supporters in southern Iran, just days ahead of a new report by the International Atomic Energy Agency on the country’s nuclear program.

The president said Iran would not stop enriching uranium – a process that yields material needed for the generation of electricity by nuclear power plants – under any conditions. Tehran says its program is to generate fuel only, but Washington and some of its allies allege the program is aimed at building nuclear weapons.

“They (US and its allies) expected the Iranian nation … to surrender after a resolution is issued or sanctions are imposed, but today … it has brought all big powers to their knees,” Ahmadinejad told supporters in Bandar Abbas.

His speech drew chants of “Nuclear energy is our definite right!” from the crowd.

Iran says it has a right under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) to enrich uranium for peaceful means. But it has been slapped with two rounds of UN Security Council sanctions under intense pressures by the United States.

Addressing the US directly, Ahmadinejad warned Wednesday that America and its allies would face a determined nation “if you start a new game.” He did not elaborate, but was likely referring to Washington’s efforts to push for a new round of UN sanctions.

The US is at loggerheads with Iran over Tehran’s independent and home-grown nuclear technology. Washington has laid much pressure on Iran to make it give up the most sensitive and advanced part of the technology, which is uranium enrichment, a process used for producing nuclear fuel for power plants.

Washington’s push for additional UN penalties contradicted the recent report by 16 US intelligence bodies that endorsed the civilian nature of Iran’s programs. Following the US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and a similar report by the IAEA head in November which praised Iran’s truthfulness about key aspects of its past nuclear activities, Russia and China increased resistance to any further punitive measures by the Security Council.

Tehran says it never worked on atomic weapons and wants to enrich uranium merely for civilian purposes, including generation of electricity, a claim substantiated by the NIE and IAEA reports.

Iran has insisted it would continue enriching uranium because it needs to provide fuel to a 300-megawatt light-water reactor it is building in the southwestern town of Darkhovin.

Not only many Iranian officials, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but also many other world nations have called the UN Security Council pressure unjustified, especially in the wake of recent IAEA reports saying Iran had increased cooperation with the agency.

US President George W. Bush, who finished a tour of the Middle East earlier this month has called on his Arab allies to unite against Iran.

But hosting officials of the regional nations dismissed Bush’s allegations, describing Tehran as a good friend of their countries.

Bush’s attempt to rally international pressure against Iran has lost steam due to the growing international vigilance, specially following the latest IAEA and US intelligence reports.

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