Iran Nuclear NewsIranian president defiant on nuclear program

Iranian president defiant on nuclear program

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Associated Press : Iran’s hard-line president on Tuesday challenged the authority of the U.N. Security Council as Iran faces a deadline to halt its uranium enrichment or face economic and political sanctions. AP, Tehran, Aug 29 – Iran’s hard-line president on Tuesday challenged the authority of the U.N. Security Council as Iran faces a deadline to halt its uranium enrichment or face economic and political sanctions.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said no one can prevent his country from having a peaceful nuclear program and proposed having a televised debate with U.S. President George W. Bush on world issues. «The U.S. and Britain are the source of many tensions.

At the Security Council, where they have to protect security, they enjoy the veto right,» Ahmadinejad said during a press conference. «This (veto right) is the source of problems of the world. … It is an insult to the dignity, independence, freedom and sovereignty of nations,» he said.

The U.N. Security Council has given Iran until Thursday to suspend a key part of its nuclear program — the enrichment of uranium, a process that can produce either fuel for a reactor or material for weapons.

But Iran has refused any immediate suspension, calling the deadline illegal. «The use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is the right of the Iranian nation. The Iranian nation has chosen this path. … No one can prevent it,» Ahmadinejad said.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan doesn’t have a «special right or advantage,» and Iran won’t suspend enrichment even if Annan asks for it during a visit to the Islamic country on Saturday, he said. Iran last week responded to a Western incentives package aimed at getting Tehran to roll back its nuclear program. Iranian officials said the Islamic country did not agree to halt enrichment — the key demand — before engaging in further talks.

Ahmadinejad on Tuesday called the response an opportunity for the two sides to resolve the issue. «The opportunity the Iranian nation has given to other countries today is a very exceptional opportunity for a fair resolution of the issue,» Ahmadinejad said.

The U.S. government on Monday reaffirmed its intent to pursue sanctions, but Russia, whose support is the U.N. Security Council is essential, publicly counseled patience with Iran.

Along with purposing a debate with Bush, Ahmadinejad also didn’t rule out the possibility of direct talks with the United States.

«When we want to talk with a friendly country, we speak under clear circumstances. And talks with those who every day show an angry face to our nation requires other conditions. If conditions are met, yes,» he said. He did not specify what conditions would be needed to hold talks.

Iran says its nuclear program is intended solely to generate electricity, while the United States and Europe contend it secretly aims to develop weapons.

The Iranian president also said the creation of Israel is a «tale» and called the Jewish state a threat to peace and stability in the Middle East. «The Zionist regime has deprived the Palestinian nation and other nations of the region of a single day of peace. In the past 60 years, it has imposed tens of wars on the Palestinian nation and others,» he said.

On Saturday, Ahmadinejad said Iran was not a threat to any nation, even Israel. But he previously has called for Israel to be «wiped off the map.

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