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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Photo: AP
Iran: Enemies cannot stop our nuclear work
Iranian President says enemies could not do 'damn thing' to stop Islamic Republic's nuclear program
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Friday Iran's enemies could not do a "damn thing" to stop its nuclear program.

 

The United States and European powers are leading efforts to impose United Nations Security Council sanctions on Iran for refusing to halt sensitive nuclear work that the West believes is aimed at producing an atomic arsenal.

 

"In the nuclear issue, they wrongly express concern about Iran's possible diversion from a peaceful path," the IRNA state news agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.

 

Tehran insists it has a right to nuclear power and only wants it to generate electricity.

 

"By God's grace our powerful nation will continue its path and the enemy cannot do a damn thing on the nuclear issue," he said. 

  

His comments echoed those of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the late founder of the Islamic Republic, who said "America cannot do a damn thing" after Iranian students stormed the US embassy in 1979 and took dozens of diplomats hostage.

 

Key UN Security Council members are currently debating a European draft sanctions resolution. The United States wants the text beefed up with stronger language, but Russia is resisting and instead wants large chunks deleted to exclude the seizure of Iranian assets and travel bans on Iranian officials.

 

Iran's top nuclear negotiator said on Friday his country would review relations with the UN's nuclear watchdog if the Security Council backed the European draft resolution.

 

Iran ended snap inspections of its nuclear facilities in February after its case was referred to the UN Security Council. It has threatened to curtail IAEA inspections altogether if the Security Council took action against it.

 

In a telephone conversation he held later with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Ahmadinejad referred to the unfortunate incident in Beit Hanoun in which 19 Palestinians were killed.

 

He emphasized the need to support the Palestinians and "to stop Israel's crimes," as he was quoted by Iranian news agency IRNA. According to him, "The racist Zionists will never be inhibited from carrying out their wild plans. We need to put an end to the cruel slaughter of Palestinian women and children."

 

Iran to UN: Condemn Israel

In addition to Ahmadinejad's statements, Iranian Ambassador to the UN Mohammad Javad Zarif said that he believes Israel is the one threatening the Iranian nation. Saturday morning, the ambassador submitted a complaint to the Security Council against Israel's supposed threats, after Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh said Friday that Iranian nuclear armament must be stopped "at any price."

 

Zarif claims that Sneh's statements, along with those made by other senior figures in the Israeli political elite, are ridiculous and illegal threats to Iran, which, according to him, show Israel's terrorist intentions for the Iranian nation.

 

Zarif continued and accused the UN of not taking the necessary steps against Israel for its "terrorist" behavior. He also claimed that Israel doesn't respect international treaties or UN authority. For this, he called the UN to condemn Israel.

 

'Not advocating Israeli preemptive strike'

Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh said in an interview with Jerusalem Post on Friday that international sanctions against Iran could not guarantee that the Islamic Republic would give up its efforts to acquire nuclear know-how, and Israel must be prepared to prevent a nuclear Iran "at all costs."

 

"I am not advocating an Israeli preemptive military action against Iran, and I am aware of all of its possible repercussions," Sneh told the newspaper. "I consider it a last resort. But even the last resort is sometimes the only resort."

 

He warned that under an Iranian nuclear threat many Israeli would fear live in Israel. "I am afraid that under such a threat, most Israelis would prefer not to live here; most Jews would prefer not to come here with their families; and Israelis who can live abroad will. People are not enthusiastic about being scorched. The danger is that the Iranian president could kill the Zionist dream without pressing any button," he said.

 

Speaking to Ynet Sneh said he doesn't recommend military action against Iran but that he is aware of the dangers that lie in wait.

 

"Iran can harm us and cause great damage, whether through terror it supports, or rockets it fires from Lebanon. We cannot damage it in a symmetrical manner and we need to be able to damage it in a similar manner," he said.

 

US: Publish sanction violators

The United States wants a European-drafted resolution to publicize any violation of sanctions against Iran if the measure is adopted by the UN Security Council, according to a text obtained by Reuters on Friday.

Washington's amendments, relatively few compared to those submitted by Russia, also propose that the resolution determine "that Iran's nuclear weapons program constitutes a clear threat to international peace and security."

 

Similar wording was included in a Security Council resolution in October imposing sanctions on North Korea after its nuclear test, thereby giving the document a solid international legal foundation for the sanctions.

 

US Ambassador John Bolton, who submitted the amendments to his council colleagues, also proposed that an outside board of experts be appointed to monitor implementation and investigate violations.

 

This group would report to the Security Council sanctions committee, which would then make "publicly available" names of individuals, groups or businesses "acting in violation of the measures," the text says.

 

The European draft—drawn up by Britain, France and Germany, and generally supported by the United States—demands nations prevent the sale or supply of any equipment, technology or financing that would contribute to Iran's nuclear or ballistic missile programs.

 

Reuters contributed to this report

 

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