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Iran: Nation insists on nuclear rights

TEHRAN, Feb. 11 (Mehr News Agency) - On Sunday, millions of people took to the streets across the country celebrating the 28th anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution.

The crowds' intentions this year were different from previous years as the West recently referred Iran to the Security Council in a bid to force Iran to relinquish its right to civilian nuclear technology and as the United States has ratcheted up its psychological warfare against Tehran, even sending aircraft carriers to the Persian Gulf waters in a threatening move.

People from all walks of life carried placards saying, "Achieving indigenous nuclear science is an epoch-making and civilization-building move".

The words on a billboard showing President Mahmud Ahmadinejad said, "The Iranian nation will defend its nuclear right with all its strength."

There was a festive spirit at the event, with children clutching balloons emblazoned with the slogan of the revolution "Freedom, independence and Islamic republic" and "Nuclear energy is our undeniable right."

Addressing the people in Tehran, Ahmadinejad said that Iran is ready to negotiate on its nuclear program but only "under fair and equitable conditions".

Tehran has no intention to withdraw from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or reduce cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Ahmadinejad told the crowd of thousands.

"We are prepared to follow the regulations. Even though the Majlis has authorized the government to reduce its cooperation with the agency or even quit the NPT, the government has not resorted to this.

"The government is prepared to defend its right within the framework of the law, in coordination with the parliament."

He went on to say that the Iranian nation would not accept the humiliation of halting its nuclear activities while Western countries' nuclear plants are operating 24 hours a day.

"According to IAEA regulations, we have the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, and according to the same regulations the countries possessing this technology should help us," he said.

The IAEA Statute does not require member states to gain the trust of the United States and some European countries to use nuclear technology, Ahmadinejad noted.

"If you are willing to negotiate, why do you insist on a suspension (of uranium enrichment)?" AFP quoted him as saying.

"If we suspend our activities, then what are we going to talk about?"

"We are ready to negotiate but under fair and equitable conditions," he added.

He insisted that all Iran's nuclear activities are closely monitored by cameras installed by IAEA inspectors, saying the Islamic Republic is the only country that has shown its nuclear activities to foreign reporters.

The UN Security Council voted to impose sanctions on Iran in December, setting a deadline for Tehran to halt uranium enrichment by February 21 or face further action.

Ahmadinejad promised more news on Iran's nuclear program by April 9.

"From now until April 9, you will hear frequently about the great progress of the Iranian people and the unique developments in the fields of industry, agriculture, and especially nuclear energy," Ahmadinejad said.

"Today's turnout across the country, with such unity and solidarity, defused the enemies' plot. Today, you stabilized your nuclear rights and disappointed the enemy.

"This is the nuclear celebration," Ahmadinejad told the crowd.

... Payvand News - 2/12/07 ... --

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