Hundreds of Iranians have taken to the streets of Tehran to celebrate their country’s announcement that it has mastered nuclear technology. On Tuesday President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad revealed that Iran had started enriching uranium to the low level needed for nuclear power stations, despite UN warnings.
Russia has described the development as a “step in the wrong direction”. Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, ruled out military action saying it would not end the stand-off. But he did not reiterate Moscow’s previous opposition to sanctions. Sentiments shared by the UN’s Secretary General, Kofi Annan:
“They have maintained that their intention is the peaceful use of nuclear energy and if that is indeed the case, they should be able to give the international community that assurance and work with everybody to find a solution.”
The UN Security Council has already warned Tehran that it must halt its enrichment programme by the end of the month or face sanctions amid Western fears it wants to develop atomic weapons.