(photo credit: AP)
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shrugged off Thursday the decision to refer Iran's nuclear program to the UN Security Council, saying his country would never abandon its plans for the peaceful exploitation of atomic power.
The foreign ministers of the permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany agreed on the referral in Paris on Wednesday, saying they had given Iran long enough to respond to a package of incentives intended to persuade it to abandon uranium enrichment - a process that can produce material for nuclear bombs or power stations.
"The Iranians have given no indication at all that they are ready to engage seriously on the substance of our proposals," French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said, speaking on behalf of the world powers. "We have no choice but to return to the United Nations Security Council."
The powers said in a statement that they would seek a resolution requiring Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment.
"The people of Iran will not give up their right to exploit peaceful nuclear technology," state television reported President Ahmadinejad as saying in the northwestern town of Mineh. "They are not intimated by the arrogant uproar and propaganda today."
Ahmadinejad added that Iran would continue to negotiate over the direction of its nuclear program, "but that doesn't mean blind obedience to the West."
Ahmadinejad re-iterated that Iran plans to respond to the incentives package in August.
The package was presented June 6 and the world powers had wanted Iran to respond before the G-8 summit that is scheduled to open Saturday in St. Petersburg, Russia.