Iran will not give up its right to develop nuclear technology despite the prospect of possible UN sanctions, says president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Tehran denies accusations it is pursuing an atomic weapons programme and says it needs nuclear technology for electricity.
But the US, Britain, France and Germany say Iran has consistently breached its commitments and failed to show its nuclear activities are peaceful, and have threatened to refer Tehran to the United Nations Security Council.
Ahmadinejad also lashed out at Israel once again, accusing those who back the Jewish state of being war criminals. It is the latest in a series of anti-Semitic remarks, which German Chancellor Angela Merkel, on her first trip to the White House, said the West, and Germany in particular, could not ignore.
She and president George W Bush have pledged to seek a common approach on Iran. For now, the case has been referred to the UN’s nuclear watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency. It remains unclear what kind of sanctions might be considered but a senior German politician has warned imposing economic sanctions would be “a very dangerous path” to take.
Asked whether Iran would play the “oil weapon” and hold back its rich reserves from the world market, Ahmadinejad replied: “Those who use harsh language against Iran need Iran ten times more than we need them.”