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Ahmadinejad Warns Iran Sanctions Will Backfire

VOA News 03 April 2010

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has rejected efforts by the United States to engage in diplomacy about its nuclear program, warning that additional sanctions will only make Tehran more determined.

Mr. Ahmadinejad spoke during a televised speech Saturday to workers at the opening of a new industrial site in the southern Iranian city of Sirjan.

He said U.S. President Barack Obama had offered Iran "three or four beautiful words" but nothing of substance, adding that the U.S. has not lifted existing sanctions or reduced its level of propaganda.

Also Saturday, Iranian atomic energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi told Iran's ILNA news agency that his department has submitted plans for two new nuclear facilities to President Ahmadinejad, and that construction could start by August.

The U.S. is calling on members of the United Nations Security Council to approve a fourth round of sanctions against Iran because of its nuclear activities.

The United States and its allies suspect Iran is enriching uranium to develop nuclear weapons, a charge the Islamic Republic denies.

Separately, The Wall Street Journal says IAEA and Western intelligence investigators are trying to determine how an Iranian firm was able to obtain special hardware for enriching uranium.

In a report published Saturday, the U.S. newspaper quotes unnamed officials who say an Iranian company closely linked to Iran's nuclear program acquired critical valves and vacuum gauges, despite sanctions intended to keep such equipment out of Iran.

The officials say the equipment was made by a French company that until December was owned by U.S. industrial conglomerate Tyco International. The French and U.S. companies told the Journal they had no knowledge of the case.

The report says the International Atomic Energy Agency launched the probe after receiving an e-mail alleging that illicit goods were being sent to Iran, through an intermediary representing a Chinese company.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.



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