Ahmadinejad: Nuke issue resolved - no talks

China More dialogue nee

By JPOST.COM STAFF, AP
December 1, 2009 10:52
4 minute read.

Iran continued snubbing the world Tuesday, two days after defiantly announcing a decision to build ten uranium enrichment facilities in the face of international condemnation of its lack of transparency in dealing with the International Atomic Energy Agency. "Iran's nuclear issue has been resolved ... We will hold no talks [with major powers] over this issue. There is no need for talks," Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday, in a televised interview communicated by the Reuters news agency. "Talking about isolating Iran [over its nuclear work] is a psychological war launched by the West ... Iran is a unique country ... and no country can isolate it," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying. Last week, the IAEA passed a resolution censuring Iran for constructing a second uranium enrichment plant near Qom without notifying the agency. During the interview, Ahmadinejad said Teheran was reviewing the option of decreasing cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog and criticized Russia's support for the IAEA's resolution, calling it a mistake. "Friendly relations with the agency are over. We will cooperate as much as they offer us compromises. We are reviewing this," he said. The sharply worded IAEA resolution on Friday demanded Iran halt all uranium enrichment and stop construction of a newly discovered nuclear facility near the Iranian city of Qom. Iran responded by saying it would build even more such facilities. Russia, which has cooperated with Iran in the past to develop its nuclear program, supported the resolution, earning it Ahmadinejad's censure. "Russia made a mistake. It has no correct analysis about current situation of the world," Ahmadinejad said, maintaining that Britain and Israel had swayed the opinion of the UN body because of their animosity toward Iran. Russia, Iran's longtime trading partner, built the country's first nuclear facility in Bushehr. The Iranian president later referred to US President Barack Obama's involvement in UN-brokered efforts to convince the Islamic republic to ship a large portion of its low-enriched uranium out of the country. "Obama's behavior is worrying. We expected him to make changes," he said. Earlier on Tuesday, Iran's Fars news agency reported that Teheran would upgrade the quality of centrifuges installed at its UN-monitored nuclear enrichment facility in Natanz. The report quoted top Iranian national security official Ali Baqeri as saying that the Islamic republic sought "to promote the quality of centrifuges, as the type of these centrifuges is more important than their number." Iran says it has already installed 7,000 centrifuges at the Natanz site - which can hold over 50,000 such machines - while 25,000 centrifuges are in preliminary phases of installation. Baqeri stated, however, that his country would continue to cooperate with the IAEA despite the agency's reproachful resolution, according to a report by Iran's national news agency. Iran would use the IAEA in order to "guarantee its interests," he said, going on to praise the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as a platform for cooperation and discourse with the UN nuclear watchdog and the West. Also commenting on the issue was Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast, who said that Iran had only turned to independent production of nuclear fuel after the IAEA failed to supply the fuel it required for a Teheran research reactor. "When a country presents its legal demands and is faced with an obstacle, it is obliged to supply its fuel through other means and if they pose restrictions on us, we should make plans and supply the fuel," Fars quoted Mehman-Parast as saying. As Iranian leaders continued to react angrily to last week's IAEA resolution, a senior Russian diplomat said Tuesday that Moscow would back any decision to impose more sanctions against Iran, according to a Reuters report. "If there is a consensus on Iran sanctions, we will not stand aside," the diplomat was quoted as saying. He added, however, that sanctions were not an immediate concern. "We would rather have Iran cooperating more openly … to lift concerns, which are gaining more ground," he said. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang, meanwhile, said Tuesday that more dialogue, not sanctions, was needed to resolve the issue of Iran's nuclear program. His words came after Teheran announced Sunday that it plans to build 10 more uranium enrichment facilities Speaking at a press conference, the Chinese spokesperson said that sanctions "are not the goal" of renewed UN pressure on Iran. "We should properly resolve this issue through dialogue," he said. "All parties should step up diplomatic efforts." The UN's nuclear agency on Friday passed a resolution demanding that Iran halt all enrichment activities. US and European officials have warned that Iran risks sinking ever deeper into isolation, but Iran has said it felt forced to move forward with the enrichment plans following the IAEA's resolution. Enrichment can be used to produce material needed for atomic weapons as well as fuel for nuclear power plants. Iran insists it only wants the latter. The UN inspectors and monitoring are the world's only eyes on Teheran's program. Predicting China's actions on the issue has not been easy, and the US has been pressuring Beijing to take a stronger stand on the issue. China has strong and growing commercial and investment ties to Iran.


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