Iran’s president has defied United Nations calls to halt his country’s nuclear programme; on the day the UN Security Council’s deadline to stop the atomic work expires. During a televised speech, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad repeated that Tehran would not yield to pressure to stop uranium enrichment. He went on to call for the European Union to step in between Tehran and Washington in order to negotiate a solution to the stand-off.
The Iranian leader insists that the programme is for peaceful ends and that the country needs the nuclear technology to cope with booming electricity demands. But western nations, led by the US, say it is a smokescreen for producing atomic weapons. The nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, will report later today on whether Iran has suspended all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development. All indications are that Iran has failed to meet the UN deadline. If so, world powers are prepared to meet next week to begin discussing punitive measures, including possible sanctions.