Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Iran President Rejects UN Security Council Deadline

Dow Jones Newswires:
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Tuesday rejected a U.N. Security Council resolution that would give his nation until Aug. 31 to suspend uranium enrichment. Instead, Ahmadinejad insisted Tehran would pursue its nuclear program.

"My words are the words of the Iranian nation. Throughout Iran, there is one slogan: 'The Iranian nation considers the peaceful use of nuclear fuel production technology its right,"' Ahmadinejad said. READ MORE

The Security Council passed a resolution Monday calling for Iran to suspend uranium enrichment by the end of August or face the threat of economic and diplomatic sanctions.

Ahmadinejad said Iran won't give in to threats from the U.N., referring to the resolution though he didn't not specifically mention it.

"If some think they can still speak with threatening language to the Iranian nation, they must know that they are badly mistaken," he said in a speech broadcast live on state-run television. "Our nation has made its decision. We have passed the difficult stages. Today, the Iranian nation has acquired the nuclear technology."

A spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry called the resolution "destructive" and "without legal foundation."

"It only pursues the political objectives of some countries," spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said in a written statement made available to The Associated Press. " It has been designed to exert pressure on Iran and block the path of dialogue through a destructive and inappropriate resolution."

Iran's ambassador to the U.N. Monday also rejected the Security Council's action, saying the resolution would make negotiations more difficult surrounding a Western incentives package offered in June to Iran in exchange for suspending enrichment.

Because of Russian and Chinese demands, the resolution's text was watered down from earlier drafts that would have made the threat of sanctions immediate. The resolution now requires the council to hold more discussions before it considers sanctions.

It was passed by a vote of 14-1. Qatar, which represents Arab states on the council, cast the lone dissenting vote.

Iran has said it would formally respond on Aug. 22 to the incentives package, but a top Iranian lawmaker said Tuesday the Security Council resolution has effectively killed the package.

"Response to the proposed package is null and void since the Security Council resolution means the package is of no use," said lawmaker Hamid Reza Haj Babaei.

U.S. President George W. Bush Monday praised the resolution, saying it sends a message to Iran that "the world is intent on working together to make sure that they do not end up with a nuclear weapon or the know-how to build a nuclear weapon."

The U.S. has accused Iran of seeking nuclear weapons. Tehran has denied the allegation and maintains its program is peaceful and aimed at generating electricity.