Iran will keep nuclear technology "at any cost": former president

AFP: Iran will hang on to its sensitive nuclear technology "at
any cost" despite pressure from the United States and the Europeans, powerful former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said Thursday.
"The United States and Europe absolutely do not want us to possess nuclear technology but we are determined ... " AFP

TEHRAN - Iran will hang on to its sensitive nuclear technology "at any cost" despite pressure from the United States and the Europeans, powerful former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said Thursday.

"The United States and Europe absolutely do not want us to possess nuclear technology but we are determined to keep this technology at any cost," he was quoted as saying by the official news agency IRNA.

He added that "giving up this legitimate right would bring an historical shame that our leadership would never be able to erase".

"A people that is ready for sacrifice cannot fail. We are fighters ready to fight," said Rafsanjani, who now heads Iran's top political arbitration body, the Expediency Council.

On September 18, the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) called on Iran to "immediately" widen a suspension of enrichment to include all uranium enrichment-related activities -- such as making centrifuges, converting yellowcake into UF6 feed gas, and constructing a heavy water reactor.

Iran, facing a November 25 deadline, risks being referred to the UN Security Council if it fails to comply.

In addition, the three main European powers -- Britian, France and Germany -- would like Iran to give up its work on the nuclear fuel cycle, a process that can be used to make fuel for atomic energy or nuclear weapons.

Fuel cycle work is permitted under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), of which Iran is a signatory, if for peaceful purposes. Iran insists it only wants to generate nuclear power to meet growing domestic energy demands and free up its huge oil and gas resources for export.