Iran News ...


2/18/07

Supreme Leader Says No Concession Over Iran's Nuclear Rights

February 17, 2007 -- Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said today that Iran's disputed nuclear program is its "future and destiny." State television said Khamenei lashed out at critics who say the nuclear drive could cost Iran too much, saying the country's huge oil and gas reserves "would not last forever."

"Nuclear energy is the future and destiny of the country," Khamenei said, according to a Reuters report that quoted state television.

Iran has four days remaining until a United Nations Security Council deadline runs out to halt its uranium-enrichment program or face possible sanctions.

Enriched uranium can be used for civilian nuclear fuel, but if it is enriched to a higher degree, it can also be used for weapons.

U.S. officials have repeatedly accused Iran of secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has criticized Tehran for obfuscation and said it has not seen convincing evidence to persuade them that Iran's nuclear program is solely peaceful.

(AFP, dpa)

Iran Says It Will Not Halt Uranium Enrichment

February 18, 2007, RFE/RL -- Iran's Foreign Ministry said today that Tehran will not agree to suspend uranium enrichment as demanded by the UN Security Council.

The council has given Tehran until February 21 to halt the sensitive nuclear work. But spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini told a weekly news conference that "suspension is unacceptable," and that there is "no ground" for it.

Hosseini said there is "no legal and logical justification" for suspension.

Bold Future

Hosseini's comments came a day after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the country's disputed nuclear program is its "future and destiny."

State television reported on February 17 that Khamenei had lashed out at critics who say the nuclear drive could cost Iran too much, saying the country's huge oil and gas reserves "would not last forever."

U.S. officials have repeatedly accused Iran of secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has criticized Tehran for obfuscation and said it has not seen convincing evidence to persuade them that Iran's nuclear program is solely peaceful.

More Maneuvers Planned

In other news, Iran's Fars news agency announced today that Iran will stage its third round of military maneuvers in fewer than four weeks.

The agency quoted a statement by Iran's paramilitary Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as saying that IRGC forces will on February 19 begin the military games, codenamed "Eqtedar" (Might), in 16 provinces.

The IRGC held naval and air force maneuvers at the end January and beginning of February.

(dpa, AFP)


Copyright (c) 2007 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org

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