Business, Finance & Economics

Iran will not retreat from nuclear program, says Ahmadinejad


Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at a ceremony at the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility on April 2007.



Iran has hit back at a critical report from the UN nuclear watchdog, with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warning that Iran will not retreat "an iota” from its atomic program.

Ahmadinejad told a crowd of thousands of people in Shahr-e-Kord, central Iran, on Wednesday that the world was being misled by claims Iran is seeking to make nuclear weapons, the Associated Press reported.

He criticized the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for siding with what he called “absurd” US accusations that its atomic ambitions were not peaceful.

The speech was Ahmadinejad's first reaction since the IAEA on Tuesday reported that Tehran was close to developing a nuclear warhead.

He told the crowd:

This nation won't retreat one iota from the path it is going. Why are you ruining the prestige of the [UN nuclear] agency for absurd US claims?

A 13-page annex to the IAEA report said there were indications that Iran had conducted “high explosives testing and detonator development to set off a nuclear charge”, Al Jazeera reported.

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It also said Iran used computer modeling of nuclear warhead core, and conducted preparatory work for a nuclear weapons test — as well as development of a nuclear payload for Iran's Shahab-III intermediate range missile, which can reach Israel.

The IAEA said that Iran was moving its low-enriched uranium to an underground facility, in order to pursue nuclear research, Reuters reported.

However, Ahmadinejad reiterated that Iran would not build nuclear weapons in a world that already has a great deal of atomic arms.

The Iranian nation is wise. It won't build two bombs against 20,000 (nuclear) bombs you have. But it builds something you can't respond to: ethics, decency, monotheism and justice.

Ahmadinejad's speech was broadcast live on state television.

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