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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Mottaki says Iran to pursue nuclear program despite UN sanctions

RIA Novosti


DUSHANBE, May 19 (RIA Novosti) - Iran will proceed with its nuclear program regardless of the threat of a new set of UN sanctions against the country, the Iranian foreign minister said on Wednesday.

The veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council - the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia - discussed on Tuesday a draft resolution expanding sanctions against Iran.

"Iran does not take the sanctions seriously," Manouchehr Mottaki said, adding that the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant would be completed by Russia in line with earlier agreements.

The measures foresee the expansion of the existing arms embargo to include more types of heavy weapons, the introduction of a ban on Iranian bank operations abroad, and the inspection of Iranian ships by international experts.

Last week the head of the Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency Rosatom, Sergei Kiriyenko, said Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant would go into operation by the end of the summer.

Tuesday's discussion on the new UN resolution draft follows the signing by the Iranian, Brazilian, and Turkish foreign ministers on Monday of an agreement on the exchange of low-enriched uranium to fuel Tehran's scientific research reactor.

"This morning a had a telephone conversation with my Brazilian counterpart, Celso Amorim, who endorsed the previously reached trilateral agreements on fuel supplies for nuclear reactor in Iran," Mottaki said.

The launch date for Bushehr has been postponed many times for financial and technical reasons. Iranian officials have claimed that Russia was reluctant to finish the facility due to UN sanctions and concerns voiced by world powers that the plant is part of a covert nuclear weapons program.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said that sanctions, if imposed, were unlikely to target Iran's energy sector or its international trade.

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