Iran Ex-leader Lashes out at West

Iran's former president lashes out at the West for considering sanctions over Tehran's nuclear programme. He said he was "astonished" by the "bullying, particularly in the era of democracy, freedom and human rights".

Iran Ex-leader Lashes out at West

Iran's influential former President, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, has lashed out at the international community's anger at Iran's nuclear research. He said he was "astonished" by the "bullying, particularly in the era of democracy, freedom and human rights". Top European foreign ministers are to meet on Thursday to consider their response to Iran's resuming research.  The West fears Iran is seeking nuclear weapons - a charge it denies - after it broke seals on a research facility.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has expressed his "profound concern" and said taking the matter to the UN Security Council was on the agenda for a meeting with counterparts on Thursday. "We'll make a decision then ... but I think it's clear the direction in which we're thinking," Mr Straw said. Mr Rafsanjani, preaching special prayers to mark the end of the hajj pilgrimage, said the "colonial" West was seeking to keep the rest of the world ignorant. "This is tantamount to arrogance and discrimination," he said in remarks broadcast live on state television.

European condemnation

On Tuesday, Iran removed UN seals from equipment at Natanz facility. UN nuclear chief Mohamed ElBaradei said Tehran would start small-scale nuclear enrichment. The move was condemned by the US and European countries. "This is a matter which has to be resolved by peaceful means, but it will involve a good deal of diplomatic and other pressure on Iran," Mr Straw said.

He confirmed he would meet French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy, Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany and Javier Solana, the EU foreign policy chief, on Thursday. In a statement from the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Mr ElBaradei said that as well as breaking the international seals on its atomic research centre in Natanz, Iran would before Wednesday remove seals on two other connected sites.

The BBC's Bethany Bell in Vienna says Iran's latest move is expected to trigger an emergency meeting of the IAEA's board of governors. The board will also consider whether to report Iran to the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions.

Our correspondent says that although the Iranian enrichment experiments are small scale and just for research purposes, there are fears they could lead to Iranian scientists mastering of uranium enrichment.

Depending on the level of enrichment, the uranium enrichment process results in either nuclear fuel or weapons grade uranium for nuclear warheads.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Iran was risking a "serious escalation" in the international dispute. Mr McClellan said the international community would have no other choice but to refer Tehran to the UN.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also said his country was taking "active measures together with the Iranian side in order to keep this [Iranian] moratorium effective".

Source: BBC

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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