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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran will damage U.S. if military action used - nuclear official

RIA Novosti

16/05/2006 11:00

MOSCOW, May 16 (RIA Novosti) - Iran can cope with any sanctions imposed over its controversial nuclear program, and will pull no punches in the event of military action, a nuclear official told a Russian newspaper Tuesday.

In an interview with the Izvestia daily, Mohsen Najafi, head of the foreign affairs department at the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), said his country would continue its uranium enrichment program and that it would inflict heavy damage on the U.S. in response to any use of force against it.

Najafi also said Tehran and Moscow had reached a preliminary agreement on the Russian offer to construct a joint uranium enrichment facility on Russian soil, but still had to discuss the details of the deal.

The EU3 of negotiators - the U.K., France and Germany - have proposed a package of incentives, including economic aid and security guarantees to Iran, if Tehran can prove that its nuclear program is used solely for peaceful purposes. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reiterated Sunday that his country would not halt civilian nuclear research.

Najafi told Izvestia that Iran had managed to enrich uranium to about 5%, and was planning to build 3,000 centrifuges to undertake industrial-scale enrichment in the near future.

Russia has opposed a draft UN Security Council resolution introduced by the United States, France and the U.K. to impose sanctions on Iran, which they suspect of pursuing a covert nuclear-weapons program.

"We believe that any military operation in Iran could lead to consequences that could seriously aggravate the situation in the region and beyond," the secretary of Russia's Security Council, Igor Ivanov, said last week. "Russia has always supported political and diplomatic means of resolving this problem."



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