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Ahmadinejad: Sanctions Will Not Affect Iran's Nuclear Program

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday brushed aside the threat of UN sanctions over his country's failure to accept a UN-proposed deal on its nuclear program, stating that such a move by western nations would not hinder Iran's nuclear program.

Ahmadinejad told state television on Tuesday that he believed further negotiations with world powers over his country's nuclear program were not needed, describing warnings by Western powers that Iran would be isolated if it fails to accept the UN-proposed deal as "ridiculous."

"They need us more than we need them. It is psychological warfare and isolating Iran is impossible," Ahmadinejad said. "Any finger which is about to pull the trigger will be cut off."

He also criticized Russia for backing an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resolution that censured Tehran for building a secret uranium-enrichment facility near the city of Qom and carrying on with its disputed uranium-enrichment program despite mounting international concerns.

"Russia made a mistake. It does not have an accurate analysis of today's world situation," Ahmadinejad said.

Ahmadinejad's outburst comes just days after the board of directors of the IAEA, UN's nuclear watchdog, censured Iran over its nuclear program last Friday. Notably, the IAEA resolution was supported by China and Russia, symbolizing increasing international concerns over Iran's disputed nuclear program. Previously, the two countries had resisted efforts by the western nations to take serious actions against Iran over its refusal to halt its nuclear development program.

However, Iran rejected the IAEA resolution, describing it as an act of intimidation. Stressing that the resolution was a "hasty and undue" step that would undermine future negotiations on the UN-proposal. Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, said the IAEA should use "the language of logic rather than force."

Following the adoption of the IAEA resolution, Iranian government authorized the country's Atomic Energy Organization to begin building ten more uranium-enrichment plants for enhancing the country's electricity production. Iranian news agencies reported that the move is aimed at enabling the country to produce 20,000 megawatts of nuclear energy by 2020. The new plants would be similar in size to Iran's main existing enrichment plant at Natanz.

The international community responded to the Iranian move by threatening to impose further sanctions on Iran over its reported plans to built more nuclear reactors. While the United States, Britain, Germany and France said that the Iranian move would be yet another serious violation of the Islamic Republic's clear obligations under multiple UN Security Council resolutions, Russia called for more negotiations to resolve the issue.

Russian officials have, however, hinted that Moscow might join an international consensus on imposing sanctions on Iran if Teheran proceeds with its plans to build additional nuclear facilities. China is the only world power yet to respond to Iran's plans to build additional nuclear plants.

The West also warned that time was running out for Iran to address the international community's growing concerns about its nuclear program and urged Iran to fulfill its international obligations. They also hinted at possible sanctions against Iran over its plans to build more nuclear facilities ignoring international concerns.

Though Iran says its nuclear program is intended for peaceful civilian power generation purposes only, the West believes it a cover-up for the Islamic country's nuclear weapon ambitions. Iran has already survived three sets of sanctions imposed on it by the UN Security Council following its refusal to halt its nuclear development work.

The latest IAEA resolution, the first against Iran in nearly four years, came after Iran failed to respond positively to a UN-proposed deal for easing international concerns over Teheran's nuclear program.

Earlier, an IAEA-proposed plan envisaged shipping low-enriched Iranian uranium to Russia for further enrichment and then to France for conversion into actual fuel for Teheran's medical-purpose reactor that makes isotopes. The proposed deal was seen as an amicable solution to the issue, as it would provide Iran the nuclear fuel it requires to run its research reactor while guaranteeing the West that Tehran will not have enough nuclear material to convert into finer-grade uranium required for making nuclear weapons.

The Vienna negotiations essentially sought to advance the agreements reached at a previous round of negotiations between Iranian officials and representatives of Great Britain, China, Russia, the U.S., France and Germany in Geneva in early October.

Iran had agreed at the Geneva talks to allow officials from the IAEA to visit and inspect its recently revealed second uranium-enrichment facility. It also agreed in principle to transport some of the low-enriched uranium produced in Iran to a third country for further enrichment and transformation into fuel for use in the Tehran research reactor.

Though Iran allowed IAEA inspectors to visit Iran's recently disclosed Fordo nuclear plant near the city of Qom, it rejected part of the deal that requires shipment of its low-enriched uranium to foreign countries for further enrichment. Tehran, however, indicated that it would instead consider exchanging uranium for nuclear fuel if carried out inside the country. Other nations involved in the talks have not accepted the Iranian demand.

by RTT Staff Writer

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