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Ahmadinejad dismisses 'illegal' UN anti-Iran resolution

"Today they want to disturb the unity of the Iranian people with this scrap of paper," said Ahmadinejad. (Reuters)
TEHERAN (24 December 2006) - Iran remained defiant on Sunday, December 24, over the newly imposed "illegal" UN sanctions, vowing to press ahead with its nuclear program and warning that full cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was no longer guaranteed.

"Whether the West likes it or not, Iran is a nuclear country and it is in their interests to live alongside Iran," President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a speech cited by Agence France-Presse (AFP).

"Today they want to disturb the unity of the Iranian people with this scrap of paper," he added.

Tehran has condemned the resolution as an "illegal" measure outside the UN Security Council's jurisdiction, insisting that its nuclear program was for peaceful purposes, basically for generating electricity, to meet the growing needs of its people.

The UN Security Council voted unanimously on Saturday, December 23, to impose sanctions on Iran's trade in sensitive nuclear materials and technology, in an attempt to stop uranium enrichment work.

It demands Iran end all research on uranium enrichment, which can produce fuel for nuclear power plants or for bombs, and halt all research and development on methods of producing or delivering atomic weapons.

The resolution also slaps a ban on imports and exports of dangerous materials and technology relating to uranium enrichment, reprocessing and heavy-water reactors, as well as ballistic missile delivery systems.

The measure is less restrictive than the original draft, drawn up by Britain, France and Germany, due to Russian objections.

A ban on Iran's oil exports was not considered.

Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the US offered Tehran a package of economic and political incentives in June if it agreed to consider a long-term freeze on enrichment.

More enrichment

"We will start our installation activities at the Natanz facility from Sunday," said Larijani. (Reuters)
A defiant Tehran unveiled Sunday plants to install more 3,000 centrifuges to enrich uranium at its Natanz facility.

"We will start our installation activities at the Natanz facility from Sunday," Tehran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani told Iran's mass-circulation Kayhan.

"It is our immediate answer to the resolution and we will go ahead with full speed."

Iran says its Natanz underground facility will eventually house tens of thousands of the machines but that it will only use them to enrich uranium to a level suitable for use in atomic power reactors.

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said the UN nuclear watchdog should not expect cooperation to continue "at the same level" after the resolution.

"The resolution is contrary to legal principles," told reporters.

"Therefore, it should not be expected that we will continue our work with the International Atomic Energy Agency at the same level."

Hosseini did not specify what cooperation could be cut, but Iranian lawmakers have already warned that Tehran could limit UN inspections of its nuclear sites.

Iran started up in October a second group of 164 centrifuges, which spin at supersonic speeds to enrich uranium.

Iran defends its right to enter the peaceful nuclear club in accordance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Double standard

Larijani insisted sanctions would not deter Iran.

"We have repeatedly said ... using the council to pressure Iran ... will make us more determined to achieve our nuclear goals," Larijani told the Iranian daily.

He accused the Security Council of double-standards by imposing sanctions on Tehran while ignoring Israel's nuclear arsenal.

"The council is silent about the Zionist regime's atomic work while reacts to Iran's peaceful activities," charged the chief nuclear negotiator.

"Such moves will harm credibility of the council."

In an interview with German television station N24 Sat1 broadcast on December 11, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert implicitly acknowledged that Israel has atomic weapons.

US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates shocked observers when he recently told the Senate armed forces committee that Israel possessed nuclear arms.

US intelligence agencies routinely omit Israel from semi-annual reports to Congress identifying countries developing weapons of mass destruction to protect it from any economic or military sanctions.

Recently declassified British documents showed London helped Israel obtain its nuclear bomb 40 years ago.

Israel is believed to be the only nuclear power in the Middle East, with experts saying it has no less than 200 nuclear warheads.

The Nuclear Threat Initiative, a US advocacy group co-created by CNN founder Ted Turner, believes Israel's nuclear arsenal "is comparable in quality and quantity to that of France and the United Kingdom."

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