Hundreds of thousands of Iranians braved appalling wintery scenes in central Tehran to celebrate the country’s National Day – the anniversary of Iran’s Islamic revolution. Holding banners against both the US and Israel, the crowd listened to speeches from political leaders including President Mohammed Khatami. Yesterday he told a meeting of Middle Eastern ambassadors that those showing aggression towards Iran would “burn in hell”.
United States President George W Bush previously labelled Iran as part of the “axis of evil” and has warned the country: “Do not develop a nuclear weapon”. Tehran claims the programme is solely for generating power. More recently Bush has emphasised the importance of diplomacy in dealing with Iran, and his Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, currently on a visit to Europe, has said that a US attack on Iran was not currently on the agenda.
Britain, France and Germany are in talks with Tehran over the accountability of its nuclear programme. The US wants to take the matter to the United Nations Security Council, but the European three want to continue with efforts towards a deal.