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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


Ahmadinejad Dismisses Year-End Deadline for Nuclear Deal

VOA News 22 December 2009

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has dismissed a year-end deadline, set by the United States, requiring Tehran to accept a nuclear fuel deal to ease concerns about its nuclear ambitions.

Speaking in the southern city of Shiraz Tuesday, Mr. Ahmadinejad said the United States is in no position to set deadlines, and that U.S. officials must "change their attitude."

President Barack Obama has said he will review diplomatic efforts with Iran before pursuing possible new sanctions through the United Nations Security Council.

Mr. Obama's spokesman, Robert Gibbs, told reporters Tuesday that the end of this month is "a very real deadline" for Iran.

Tehran has refused to accept a plan backed by the International Atomic Energy Agency that would send 70 percent of Iran's uranium stockpile to other countries for further enrichment.

On Monday, the top U.S. military officer said the Pentagon must be ready with military options for dealing with Iran, in the event the president calls for them.

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he believes military force would have limited results, and that the best chance to resolve the dispute over Iran's nuclear program will come from diplomacy.

In other news, Mr. Ahmadinejad has dismissed a British newspaper report that Iran is working on developing a trigger for nuclear weapons.

In a U.S. television interview, broadcast Monday by the ABC network, the reporter, Diane Sawyer, offered Mr. Ahmadinejad a copy of a document obtained by The Times of London that purportedly contained details of Iran's work on an "initiator" for nuclear explosions.

The Iranian president waved the document away and said it had been fabricated by the U.S. government.

An adviser to Mr. Obama says Mr. Ahmadinejad's contention is nonsense.

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

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