Ahmadinejad vows no retreat on nuclear program

In first reaction to damning IAEA report, Iranian president says findings were based on "invalid" information from Washington.

By JPOST.COM STAFF, REUTERS
November 9, 2011 11:15
2 minute read.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl)

 
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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday declared that Tehran will not pull back "even a needle's width" from its nuclear path, even after an incriminating UN report on its nuclear program.

Ahmadinejad decried the UN nuclear watchdog's report - which was released Tuesday night - saying it damaged the International Atomic Energy Agency's dignity and was based on "invalid" US claims.

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"You should know that this nation will not pull back even a needle's width from the path it is on," he said in a speech carried live on Iranian state television. "Why do you damage the agency's dignity because of America's invalid claims?" he asked.

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Ahmadinejad's comments echoed those of Iran's IAEA envoy on Tuesday, who spoke shortly after the report's release.

"The IAEA report is unbalanced, unprofessional and politically motivated," said Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's envoy to the IAEA.

The Iranian ambassador said the IAEA report "did not contain any new issue."

"Despite Iran's readiness for negotiations, the IAEA published the report ... which will harm its reputation," Soltanieh said.

On Wednesday, hours before the report was released, Ahmadinejad criticized IAEA chair Yukiyo Amano, calling him a pawn for US interests.

Ahmadinejad said that IAEA was a tool for a few countries bent on world domination, and stated that Iran would continue to pursue nuclear development despite international pressure.



"They have empowered a person in the IAEA that has no authority and violates the agency's rules by repeating the words of the US," the Iranian president said according to Iranian semi-official FARS News Agency.

Ahamdinejad made the comments just as the IAEA was expected to release a report detailing intelligence about Tehran's nuclear capabilities.

The Iranian president also lashed out at the United States, saying Iran does not need an atomic bomb to "cut off [the] US's hands," official Iranian PressTV reported.

Noting that the United States possesses over 5,000 nuclear warheads,  Ahmadinejad accused Washington of arrogance in its campaign against Tehran.

The US, he said, has allocated "$81 billion to upgrade its atomic bombs, while the entire annual budget of Iran's nuclear research is merely $250 million," according to the report.

The UN nuclear watchdog report is expected to show recent activity in Iran that could help in developing nuclear warheads, including computer models of such weapons.

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