Iranian president rejects UN nuclear ultimatum
29 August 2006, TEHRAN - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday rejected a United Nations demand to halt uranium enrichment by August 31 or face the possible imposition of sanctions.
29 August 2006
TEHRAN - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday rejected a United Nations demand to halt uranium enrichment by August 31 or face the possible imposition of sanctions.
"We will not bow to threats and ultimatums," Ahmadinejad told reporters at a press conference in Tehran.
"The (UN) Security Council shall not be an instrument of the West," he added, reiterating that the pursuit of nuclear technology was the "legitimate right" of Iran.
UN resolution 1696, passed by the Security Council in July, said the UN would adopt "appropriate measures" allowed by Article 41 of Chapter 7 of the UN Charter if Iran failed to halt enrichment by the August 31 deadline.
That article allows the council to impose economic sanctions, a severance of diplomatic ties or a telecommunications embargo.
Western nations chief among them the United States have long accused Tehran of harbouring nuclear weapons ambitions. Iran counters however that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) it is entitled to the pursuit of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
The five permanent Security Council members as well as Germany have offered Iran a package of economic incentives in return for a halt to uranium enrichment. Iran on August 22 formally presented its reply to the Western proposal calling for further negotiations on its nuclear programme.
"We have already replied clearly and in full to the (incentives) package and we hope that the West will avail of our offer for negotiations and seize this unique opportunity," Ahmadinejad said Tuesday.
Should UN sanctions be imposed however Iran will "act accordingly," the Iranian president said without giving further details.
"A country capable of producing its own nuclear fuel can also overcome sanctions," Ahmadinejad said. "We are capable of defending our rights and are prepared for all possible scenarios."
Asked how Iran would respond to a direct appeal from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to halt uranium enrichment, Ahmadinejad said: "Our position is totally clear, and Mr Annan knows that nothing can be demanded that stands outside the already-agreed international regulations."
"For us, all countries have the same rights (under the NPT), no nation is more privileged than any other and there should be no discrimination."
Ahmadinejad also challenged US President George W Bush to a television debate. "I invite Mr Bush to a TV debate to talk about world developments, under the condition however that nothing is censored," he said.
The Iranian president had at the beginning of the conference criticised the composition of the UN Security Council and said that the US and Britain were using the body "to dominate the world."
Ahmadinejad said that the nuclear policy of his administration "is quite different" to the previous administration of reformist Mohammad Khatami, indicating that he and his government would not be willing to make any compromise like Khatami.
"Our nuclear programmes are very transparent and we have therefore not only allowed inspections of our sites but also invited foreign states to start joint nuclear ventures with us," he said.
"But we do not grant a few countries the right to play the representatives of the world and deprive us from our legitimate rights," Ahmadinejad added, referring to the US and Britain.
The Iranian leader said that more than 170 world states have already approved Iran's right to pursue nuclear technology, referring mainly to Islamic states which have not joined the anti-Iran front in the nuclear dispute.
"The US, which has the Hiroshima tragedy in its background, has no right at all to talk about non-proliferation," Ahmadinejad said.
Subject: German news