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Iran Faces UN Deadline On Enrichment

August 31, 2006 -- A UN Security Council deadline for Iran to halt uranium enrichment is set to expire today with no indication that Iran will comply.

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad said in a speech today that Tehran is in favor of peace and dialogue.

Ahmadinejad also said Iran will not yield to threats or pressure that could lead to the violation of its rights.

The Iranian president was speaking in the northwestern city of Urumiyeh. He also said enemies of his country are trying to create differences among the Iranian people, adding that they will fail to do so.

"But they should all know that the Iranian nation will not yield to pressure and aggression even a bit and will not accept any violations of its rights," he said.

In Washington on August 30, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Iran was not expected to confirm with UN demands.

McCormack said U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns and top officials from Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany would meet early next week to discuss possible sanctions against Iran.

McCormack said sanctions would send a "strong, clear signal" to Iran.

"So the idea is to try to get them to change their behavior," McCormack said. "That's what we want to happen. And we are now at the next step where we believe that sanctions are merited and we hope that sanctions will send a clear, strong signal to the Iranian regime that this is a matter of utmost concern and serious concern to the international community and that they need to change their behavior."

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric has said that Mohammad el-Baradei, the head of UN's nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), would simultaneously transmit his report on the Iranian nuclear issue to both the IAEA Board and to the Security Council president by early afternoon today.

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States -- plus Germany have sought to determine Iran to suspend enrichment by offering a package of incentives.

But Iran has given no indication it plans to halt enrichment work.

(compiled from agency reports)

Copyright (c) 2006. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org

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