Iran’s president has said his country’s nuclear programme is now “closed” as a political issue. Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the disputed work was in the hands of the UN nuclear watchdog.
And he criticised as “illegal” sanctions taken by the Security Council.
He said: “Previously they illegally insisted on politicising the Iranian nation’s nuclear case but today, because of the resistance of the Iranian nation, the issue is back to the agency and I officially announce that in our opinion the nuclear issue of Iran is now closed and has turned into an ordinary agency matter.”
Meanwhile, the US House of Representatives has passed legislation imposing sanctions on foreign energy companies that do business with Tehran.
European energy groups could well be among those affected. Iran relies on oil for up to 90 percent of the country’s export earnings.
The text calls for a ban on nuclear assistance to countries which support Iran’s atomic programme and sanctions for companies which invest there.
It also calls on the US State Department to put the Iranian Revolutionary Guards on its blacklist of terrorist organisations. Washington has long accused them of funding Shi’ite rebels in Iraq – something Tehran denies.
The move would make it easier for the US to freeze the Revolutionary Guard’s funds.