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Iran rejects 'impossible' nuclear suspension

by Staff Writers
Tehran (AFP) Sept 9, 2007
Iran's top nuclear negotiator on Sunday said it was "impossible" Tehran would yield to the key Western demand over its nuclear programme, even if the UN Security Council imposed further sanctions.

The reaffirmation by Ali Larijani of Iran's refusal to suspend uranium enrichment activities comes a day ahead of a crucial meeting in Vienna of the UN atomic energy agency on the Iranian nuclear programme.

"A suspension is impossible. Even if you vote two other resolutions, we will not suspend," said Larijani in an interview with state television.

"If there is a new resolution, our position will stay the same," he added.

The UN Security Council has issued two sanctions resolutions against Tehran for its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, a key part of an atomic programme that the United States alleges is aimed at making nuclear weapons.

Iran is hoping to escape further measures after agreeing a timetable to clear up outstanding questions with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), but the United States has expressed grave reservations over the deal.

IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei will have to defend the deal in the face of US criticism when he presents his report this week on the Iranian atomic programme to the agency.

The United States -- as well as European allies like Britain and France -- have warned of a third sanctions resolution in the coming months should Iran remain defiant.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had earlier also maintained his defiant line over the Iranian nuclear programme, saying his Western foes who demand that Iran halt its sensitive nuclear activities were "racing to hell".

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, reiterated meanwhile Tehran's position that it was not seeking to manufacture atomic weapons and its nuclear programme was peaceful.

"While the Iranian people do not have nuclear weapons and do not wish to acquire these deadly arms, the people are respected because their grandeur is based on their beliefs and their will," he told a group of Revolutionary Guards chiefs.

related report
Iran's nuclear ambitions 'major risk': French defence chief
Doha (AFP) Sept 9 - French Defence Minister Herve Morin warned on Sunday that Iran's nuclear programme posed a "major risk" to the stability of the Gulf region.

"It is necessary to make Iran understand that the nuclear risk creates a major risk of destabilising the region," Morin told journalists as he wrapped up a visit to the Gulf state of Qatar.

He said Iran's nuclear ambitions were a major concern for the region and called on "the moderate Gulf states to find a way to talk and reason" with Tehran.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy last month declared that Iran possessing a nuclear weapon was "unacceptable" and that he considered it the gravest problem currently facing the international community.

Iran maintains that its nuclear programme is for producing electricity, but Western powers suspect that it is a cover for developing a nuclear weapon.

Morin on Sunday also defended France's decision to help Libya build a nuclear reactor for a desalination plant, saying that Tripoli had a right to this technology because "the Libyan govnernment respects all the international controls related to the nuclear question."

Source: Agence France-Presse
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Iran shrugs off new nuclear sanctions threats
Tehran (AFP) Sept 6, 2007
Iran on Thursday shrugged off warnings of further UN sanctions over its nuclear drive, saying the atomic programme was now so well advanced that more punitive measures would have no effect.

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