Iran won’t retreat from nuclear path: Ahmadinejad
By Rizwan Khatik - Thu Nov 10, 5:18 am
TEHRAN: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed Wednesday that Iran won’t retreat “one iota” from its nuclear program, denying claims that it seeks atomic weapons. Key ally Russia gave the Islamic Republic a major boost, rejecting tighter sanctions despite a UN watchdog report detailing suspected arms-related advances.
Israel called on the world to stop Iran’s nuclear program in response to the UN International Atomic Energy Agency’s report. The Israeli statement did not refer to the option of a military attack despite recent signals that would be a possibility.
In his first reaction to the report, Ahmadinejad strongly criticized the agency — a day after it claimed Tehran was on the brink of developing a nuclear weapon — saying the IAEA is discrediting itself by siding with “absurd” US accusations.
The comments, broadcast live on state TV, were a sharp rebuke to Western warnings that Iran appears to be engaged in a dangerous defiance of international demands to control the Islamic Republic’s nuclear ambitions.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said the IAEA report confirmed long-standing claims by Israel and Western countries that Iran is developing nuclear bombs.
Among these were indications that Iran has conducted high explosives testing and detonator development to set off a nuclear charge, as well as computer modeling of a core of a nuclear warhead. The report also cited preparatory work for a nuclear weapons test, and development of a nuclear payload for Iran’s Shahab 3 intermediate-range missile — a weapon that can reach Israel.
Ahmadinejad was defiant in an address to thousands of people in Shahr-e-Kord in central Iran.
“This nation won’t retreat one iota from the path it is going,” he said. “Why are you ruining the prestige of the (UN nuclear) agency for absurd US claims?“
Ahmadinejad also repeated Iran’s claims that it doesn’t make sense to build nuclear weapons in a world already awash with atomic arms.
“The Iranian nation is wise. It won’t build two bombs against 20,000 (nuclear) bombs you have,” he said in comments apparently directed at the West and others. “But it builds something you can’t respond to: Ethics, decency, monotheism and justice.”