Iran says Western Pressure Will Not Affect Nuclear Decisions
By Elizabeth Arrott
12 October 2009
The Iranian government is rejecting Western pressure to move quickly on disclosing information about its nuclear program. At the same time, it is facing renewed opposition from candidates in the June presidential election to discuss allegations of fraud.
Iran Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi said Tehran will not be affected by deadlines or threats about its nuclear activities.
Speaking at his weekly news conference, Qashqavi said Iran is ready to discuss getting enriched uranium from other countries. But he stressed this did not mean Tehran would be dependent on foreign powers, adding, "we will definitely secure our needs" for fuel.
His comments come one day after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the world will not wait forever for Iran to meet its international obligations on nuclear issues.
Iranian officials are to meet with Western powers later this month to discuss enriching uranium abroad. The deal would ease fears that Iran is trying to boost the material to the level needed for nuclear weapons.
Even as the Iranian government is trying to deflect international pressure, it is still dealing with the fall-out of its disputed presidential election in June.
The pro-reform Sarmayeh newspaper is reporting two defeated candidates, Mir Houssein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, are demanding time to speak on state television about their allegations of electoral fraud.
Amal Hamada, a political science professor at Cairo University, says even if the government were to allow them the opportunity, it would likely not amount to much.
"The talk issue is not going to be anything serious, other than buying time for both the Iranian regime and the Iranian opposition, because as far as the Iranian regime is concerned, no steps are being taken in the direction of bridging the gaps with the opposition anymore," Hamada said.
The foreign ministry spokesman also addressed British repercussions from the election. Asked about the British Museum's reversal on loaning Iran an artifact because of the political situation following the vote, Qashqavi said the decision is "irrational, illogical and illegal."
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