Iran unmoved by nuclear pressure


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

Iran unmoved by nuclear pressure

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said Tehran will not abandon its right
to nuclear technology under Western pressure, local media say.

His statement comes a day after six world powers agreed proposals in Vienna to 
persuade Iran to halt its research.

But US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she still hoped to meet 
ministers from Iran if it suspended its nuclear programme and agreed to talks.

Ex-President Jimmy Carter said the US should enter talks without conditions.

"To say 'We will not meet with you unless you agree ahead of time to comply with
all of our demands' might be an impediment that is too great politically 
speaking for the Iranian government to overcome," he told the BBC.

However, the Bush administration has made clear it will only talk to Iran if 
they suspend their uranium enrichment while Tehran has dismissed the offer of 
incentives and talks, saying it is not prepared to give up its nuclear 

That has left the likelihood of the two sides talking in serious doubt, the 
BBC's Jonathan Beale reports from Washington.

US Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte said Iran could have a bomb
within 10 years.

Incentives package

Iran resumed enrichment of uranium this year but remains a signatory to the 
nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and maintains that its activities are aimed 
only at energy production.

The efforts of some Western countries to deprive us will not bear any fruit

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,
Iranian President

Mr Ahmadinejad said Iran had co-operated and would continue to co-operate with 
UN nuclear watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency.

He said that at issue was the right to advanced technology, not nuclear weapons.

"The efforts of some Western countries to deprive us will not bear any fruit," 
he said.

He made no direct reference to Thursday's proposal, which contains both 
incentives and penalties depending on whether Iran decides to give up or 
continue sensitive nuclear activity.

Although no details have been made public of the Vienna accord, sources say it 
could include giving Iran a nuclear reactor and an assured supply of enriched 

European officials are expected to acquaint Tehran with the proposal in the next
few days.

'Ministers could meet'

Ms Rice said she hoped for an Iranian reply within weeks, but warned Tehran 
could face robust measures if it turned down the offer.

She said it was possible she would meet Iranian ministers, in what would be the 
highest level of contact between the two countries since 1979.

"If Iran is prepared to verifiably suspend its programme and enter into 
negotiations, then we'll determine the level [of representation] but I wouldn't 
be at all surprised if the ministers meet at some point," she said, quoted by 
Reuters news agency.

Speaking in Moscow, President Putin of Russia stressed it was too early to talk 
of sanctions, saying there was a need to have a deep conversation with the 
Iranian leadership.

But the BBC's Jonathan Marcus says it is as hard to determine who really is in 
control in Tehran as it is to decide what the government's nuclear intentions 

Earlier on Friday, Mr Negroponte told BBC Radio's Today programme Tehran could 
have a nuclear bomb ready between 2010 and 2015.

He also accused Iran of being the world's top state sponsor of terrorism.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/06/03 04:03:34 GMT


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