Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is currently on a tour of Latin America, said Friday that his country will continue to resist Western pressure in relation to Tehran's nuclear program claiming that "everyone knows that Iran isn't trying to develop a bomb."
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Speaking at a press conference in Ecuador, he said: "They insult our country and our citizens, of course we'll resist pressure. "The nuclear question is a political excuse. They all know full well Iran isn't interested in producing nuclear bombs. We don't believe in making atom bombs. We believe it is immoral."
He added: "The problem is not the nuclear issue, the problem is the independence and progress of free peoples," said Ahmadinejad during a news conference in Ecuador. "The dominant and hegemonic powers will not allow the progress and development of independent nations."
Ahmadinejad at the press conference (Photo: AP)
On Thursday, two diplomats said that Iranian officials had suggested they were ready to talk about claims that Iran has been secretly working to develop nuclear weapons during recent meetings with officials of the Vienna-based IAEA. They said a senior UN nuclear agency team will visit Tehran on Jan. 28 and hold talks with senior Iranian officials.
Diplomats have previously said that International Atomic Energy Agency officials were discussing such a trip with their Iranian counterparts. But before the diplomats' comments Thursday, no date - or indication that Iran was ready to talk about the allegations - had been mentioned.
US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta addressed the Iranian issue in a meeting with US soldiers on Thursday and said there were two red lines Tehran could not cross: developing nuclear abilities and closing the Straits of Hormuz.
On Friday, the New York Times reported that the Obama administration is relying on a secret channel of communication to warn Iran that closing the Strait of Hormuz is a “red line” that would provoke an American response, according to United States government officials.
The officials declined to describe the unusual contact between the two governments, and whether there had been an Iranian reply.
Reuters contributed to this report
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