Teheran denies CIA report; Iranians protest against France.
By ASSOCIATED PRESS, JPOST.COM STAFF
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Teheran will not hold talks with the West over its disputed nuclear program until late August to "punish" world powers for imposing tougher economic sanctions, as hundreds protested outside the French embassy in Teheran on Monday.The UN Security Council approved a fourth round of sanctions against Iran earlier this month over Teheran's refusal to halt uranium enrichment.RELATED:Peres: Russia is taking Iran seriouslyPanetta: Iran has uranium for two bombsObama welcomes Iran sanctionsAhmadinejad told reporters Monday in Teheran that the decision is aimed at "punishing [the West] to teach them the custom of talking to our nation."Iran has rejected as "psychological warfare" assertions by CIA Director Leon Panetta that Teheran has the capability to build two nuclear weapons.Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Monday the remarks by the CIA chief were aimed at creating a "negative perception" of Iran's peaceful nuclear program.On Sunday, Leon Panetta said Iran probably had enough low-enriched uranium for two nuclear weapons, but that it likely would take two years to build them. The US and its allies maintain that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Teheran denies.AdvertisementHundreds protest outside French embassy in TeheranAlso on Monday, hundreds gathered outside the French embassy in Teheran on Monday, in protest of Iran's main exiled opposition group holding a rally in France, AFP reported."Shame on [President Nicolas] Sarkozy! Death to France! Shame on you, France, let go of the hypocrites!" chanted the crowd as police set up barricades outside the embassy in central Tehran, an AFP photographer said. The state news agency IRNA reported that the protestors carried banners denouncing the US and Israel.Monday's demonstration was meant to protest a demonstration by the People's Mujahedeen of Iran (PMOI) that took place in France on Saturday, and was attended by tens of thousands of opponents of Iran's regime, as well as former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton and former prime minister of Spain Jose Maria Aznar.AFP reported that the protest was organized by an Iranian association representing families of those allegedy killed in PMOI attacks. The organizers accused France of sheltering the group's members and demanded they be turned over to Iran.The PMOI is a member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an umbrella organization of exiled Iranian opposition groups. The PMOI advocates the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also sided with Saddam Hussein's forces during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s.The group has also taken responsibility for several attacks inside Iran since the Islamic revolution of 1979.
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