UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran unfazed by prospect of new UN sanctions

RIA Novosti

18/09/2008 19:31 TEHRAN, September 18 (RIA Novosti) - Iran is undaunted by the possibility of new UN sanctions over its ongoing nuclear program, the country's president said on Thursday.

France and Britain urged new UN sanctions against Iran following a recent IAEA report. The United States earlier issued a similar call for new sanctions against Tehran.

The Islamic Republic is currently under three sets of relatively mild UN Security Council sanctions for defying demands to halt uranium enrichment, which it says it needs purely for electricity generation despite Western accusations that the program is geared toward weapon production.

"These sanctions will primarily work against those who have initiated them," Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said.

He said nothing could prevent Tehran from continuing its nuclear program.

"We will continue doing what we have been doing [in the nuclear sphere]. Sanctions are meaningless to us," he said.

The report by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which was released on Monday, said that Iran had not halted its uranium enrichment program and had increased the number of its uranium enrichment centrifuges from 3,300 to 3,820 and that work was under way to install another 2,000 at the Natanz enrichment plant.

Ahmadinejad said Iran would not give in to UN Security Council demands to halt uranium enrichment.

"Suspending [the work] is a past issue," the president said. "We do not think the issue of the 'nuclear problem' exists for Iran any more."

Ahmadinejad said earlier on Thursday that the IAEA report reaffirmed the peaceful nature of Tehran's nuclear program.

However, the European Union's foreign policy chief Javier Solana said on Thursday at a Paris meeting of EU foreign ministers that the IAEA report "isn't good for Iran," because it indicates that Iran has blocked efforts to investigate its nuclear program.

The IAEA wants Iran to clarify the suspected links between uranium enrichment and tests of high explosives and missile technology allegedly being developed by Iranian scientists by granting access to sites, documents and the relevant officials.

Ahmadinejad has reiterated Iran's contention that the Islamic Republic has fully cooperated with the IAEA and has clearly proven the peaceful nature of its nuclear research.

He said on Thursday he would not meet with any U.S. officials during his upcoming visit to attend a UN General Assembly session in New York.

"No such meetings have been scheduled," he said.

A meeting of foreign ministers from the six countries negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program - the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany - will be held in New York next week on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session, a diplomat representing one of Iran Six said Thursday.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list