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Wednesday, December 12, 2007
New threats against Iran unlikely: Ahmadinejad
Tehran Times Political Desk
TEHRAN - President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has ruled out the possibility of more “sanctions and threats” against the Islamic Republic over its peaceful nuclear activities.
Speaking to reporters at a news conference here on Tuesday, Ahmadinejad described the U.S. intelligence report on Iran’s nuclear program as a “positive step” and expressed hope that Washington would take “more steps like this”.
“This way the situation will change and the way will be paved for resolving the regions’ major problems,” the president opined.
In a report released on Monday, the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) said Iran has no nuclear weapons program and probably can’t produce enough uranium for a bomb until 2010 at the earliest.
The report said that U.S. allegations about Iran’s nuclear objectives have been exaggerated for at least two years, AFP reported.
Asked what additional steps Iran expects the U.S. to take, Ahmadinejad replied, “One of the steps they can take is to change their stance toward Middle East issues. Regional countries want to exercise their rights. They (the Americans) should respect the rights of countries in the region.”
The president stated, “If the American society looks into the (NIE) report carefully, it will get the same idea about Iran’s nuclear activities.”
He asserted that new sanctions against the Islamic Republic would be legally unjustifiable.
“Any actions of this kind would have no legal justification. The reports of the (International Atomic Energy) Agency and the NIE are in full view of the eyes of the world. We see no reason for the continuation of this dispute.”
A report issued by the UN nuclear watchdog on November 8 confirmed the transparency of Iran’s nuclear program and said it found Tehran to be generally truthful about key aspects of its nuclear history.
Ahmadinejad said that Iran is prepared to continue talks on the nuclear program to clear up any possible ambiguities.
“Over the last six months we have moved toward resolving the (nuclear) issue. Our activities are legal and peaceful. We act within the framework of law,” the president observed.
“We will continue installing centrifuge machines for uranium enrichment and supplying the fuel required for our country’s nuclear power plants.”
“We believe that nuclear energy does not mean an atomic bomb. This energy has many positive applications. All countries need to utilize this energy.”
Asked whether Iran regards Israel as a threat to its national security, Ahmadinejad said the Islamic Republic is a powerful and united country that has the ability to defend itself and does not feel threatened by the Zionist regime.
The president refused to elaborate on Russia’s responses to the proposals made by Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
Supreme National Security Council Secretary Saeed Jalili paid a visit to Moscow on December 3 and passed on Ayatollah Khamenei’s message to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Former nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani had earlier said that Iran is studying Putin’s responses to the proposals