Iran Says Nuke Program Is Near Complete
The Associated Press | November 14, 2006
By ALI AKBAR DAREINI
TEHRAN, Iran -- President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday said Iran would soon celebrate completion of its controversial nuclear fuel program.
"With the wisdom and resistance of the nation, today our position has stabilized. I'm very hopeful that we will be able to hold the big celebration of Iran's full nuclearization in the current year," the hard-line president said referring to the country's nuclear fuel program.
Iran's current calendar year ends on March 20.
The hard-line president also claimed that the international community was caving in to Tehran's demands to continue its nuclear program.
"Initially, they (the U.S. and its allies) were very angry. The reason was clear: They basically wanted to monopolize nuclear power in order to rule the world and impose their will on nations," Ahmadinejad said.
"Today, they have finally agreed to live with a nuclear Iran, with an Iran possessing (the whole) nuclear fuel cycle," he said, without elaborating.
Iran has been locked in a standoff with the West over its nuclear program. The United States and its European allies have been seeking a U.N. Security Council resolution imposing impose sanctions on Tehran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment.
Russia, which is backed by China, has opposed tough action advocated by the U.S., Britain and France, and its amendments to a Western draft resolution would reduce sanctions and delete language that would cut off Iran's access to foreign missile technology.
The U.S. and some of its allies allege that Iran is developing nuclear weapons and are suspicious of its intentions after Tehran concealed parts of its nuclear development from U.N. inspectors for many years.
But Tehran claims its program is peaceful and for generating electricity.
Uranium enrichment at low levels can be used to produce fuel to generate electricity but at higher levels can be use to make atomic bombs.
Iran has said it will never give up its right under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to enrich uranium and produce nuclear fuel. Officials have said they plan to generate 20,000 megawatts of electricity through nuclear energy in the next two decades.
Ahmadinejad said he will soon send a message to the American people in an apparent attempt to influence the U.S. public opinion over President George W. Bush's policy toward Iran.
"We will issue a message to the American people ... many Americans have asked me to talk to them and offer my opinions to them. This message is being drawn up," he said.
In August, Ahmadinejad called for a televised debate with Bush months after he wrote a letter to the U.S. president that Washington said was irrelevant and not addressing the key issue of Iran's disputed nuclear program.
Iran also recently has said it would consider negotiating with the U.S. over Iraq and other regional issues if Washington proposes having talks. But has hinted that it would not drop its refusal to talk about its nuclear program.
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