TEHRAN (FNA) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called on the US and its allies Saturday to “apologize” to Iran for accusing it of seeking nuclear weapons, and said no amount of sanctions would deter his country from pursuing its uranium enrichment program.
“If they want to continue with that path of sanctions, we will not be harmed,” Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying Saturday during a television address. “They can issue resolutions for 100 years.”
It comes a day after a report by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency found Iran has increased transparency in its atomic program, and said that outstanding issues with Iran have been resolved.
Ahmadinejad said the report vindicated Iran and warned that his country would take “reciprocal measures” against any country that imposed additional sanctions against it.
The best way for the US and its allies to “compensate for their mistakes” is to “apologize and pay compensation,” he added.
Earlier this week, Britain and France formally introduced a new Security Council resolution calling for a third round of sanctions against Iran for its failure to suspend uranium enrichment.
Under the proposed new sanctions, all countries would have to ban the entry or transit of individuals involved in Iran’s nuclear program – a step up from a previous call for vigilance over their travel.
For the first time, trade in equipment and technology that can be used in both civilian and nuclear programs would also be banned.
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.