West will suffer more than Iran: Ahmadinejad
Reuters | March 9, 2006
By Parinoosh Arami
TEHRAN - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Thursday the West would suffer more than Iran if it continued to try to stop the Islamic Republic developing nuclear technology, local media reported.
Speaking a day after it became clear that the U.N. Security Council would take up Iran's nuclear case, Ahmadinejad said Tehran would not be bullied or humiliated.
"They (Western countries) know that they are not capable of inflicting the slightest blow on the Iranian nation because they need the Iranian nation," Ahmadinejad said in a speech in western Iran.
"They will suffer more and they are vulnerable," the semi-official ISNA students news agency quoted him as saying.
His comments were echoed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the ultimate decision-maker in the Islamic state, who urged government officials not to give in to Western pressure.
Khamenei said the move to send Iran's case to the Security Council was part of a psychological war masterminded by Washington and aimed at undermining Iran's clerical rulers.
"That is why if the Iranian nation and government steps back on nuclear energy today, the story will not end there and the Americans will make another pretext," state television quoted him as telling the Assembly of Experts, an elected body of senior clerics which supervises the supreme leader's activities.
"The officials are responsible for continuing Iran's drive for advanced technology, including nuclear energy, without yielding to the pressures," he said.
HARM AND PAIN
A senior Iranian security official warned on Wednesday Iran could inflict "harm and pain" to match whatever punishment Washington persuaded the Security Council to mete out for Iran's refusal to heed calls that it halt atomic fuel research.
Iran says it wants to master nuclear fuel cycle technology to feed atomic reactors generating electricity. Washington and its allies believe Iran wants nuclear fuel to make atomic bombs.
Some Iranian officials have warned that if pressured further over the nuclear case Tehran could restrict its vital oil exports to push prices even higher.
They have also hinted Iran could use its influence with militants in Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories to stir up trouble for the United States and Israel.
Ahmadinejad, who provoked widespread condemnation last year with his call to "wipe Israel off the map", used typically fiery rhetoric on Thursday in his speech to supporters.
"This nation ... will not allow others to treat it with a bullying attitude, even if those who treat it with a bullying attitude are international bullies," ISNA quoted him as saying.
But in a possible nod to faint internal criticism that Ahmadinejad's inflammatory statements have antagonized the West, Khamenei noted the need for "wisdom and expediency" in handling the nuclear issue.
Members of parliament chanted "Death to America" in response to Iran's case being sent to the Security Council, ISNA said.
Iran's Atomic Energy Organization said hundreds of people would form a symbolic human chain on Thursday around the Natanz uranium enrichment plant in central Iran -- the most sensitive facility in Iran's nuclear program.
Last modified March 9, 2006