Iranian President vows to maintain nuclear program

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami said today that his country will never give up its nuclear development process.

Talking to foreign ambassadors in Tehran, he said, "We give our guarantee that we will not produce nuclear weapons because we're against them and do not believe they are a source of power, but we will not give up peaceful nuclear technology."

"Iran has achieved nuclear technology without the help of others, and it will never give up its right [to use it] under illegitimate pressure from others," Khatami said.

His remarks come as Iran faces increasing pressure to curb its nuclear activities. The United States and the European Union wants the country to give up enriching uranium, a key process in both nuclear power generation and weapons production. Iran claims to have suspended such enrichment—President Khatmi said that enrichment is "our clear right" but that Iran had suspended it only "to show our goodwill". The EU wants a permanent cessation.

Khatami also denounced, "the slanders of the American rulers against the Iranian nation and the establishment", saying they were aimed at "putting a cover on the failures of the extremist US policy".

Newly-appointed U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said while touring Europe this week that diplomacy with Iran must be given every chance to succeed, adding that no deadline had been set to take the issue to the UN Security Council.