In front of an anti-aircraft gun, Iranian women make their way at the conclusion of a rally in front of the Natanz Uranium Enrichment Facility, some 200 miles (322 km) south of the capital Tehran, Iran, Thursday, March 9, 2006, to support Iran’s nuclear programs. Iran said Thursday it won’t be bullied into abandoning its nuclear program, rejecting its referral to the U.N. Security Council as ‘unjust.’ Both President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and supreme leader Ali Khamenei were defiant in the face of the mounting international pressure on Iran over its nuclear program.
Reuters: Iran pledges to stand firm in row with West
Iran’s top leadership on Thursday vowed no compromise on its nuclear dispute with the West, which President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said would suffer more than Tehran if it continued to confront Iran’s atomic ambitions.
Speaking a day after it became clear the U.N. Security Council would take up Iran’s case, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — the ultimate decision-maker in the Islamic state — urged officials not to give in to Western pressure.
“If the Iranian nation and government step back on nuclear energy today, the story will not end there and the Americans will make another pretext,” state television quoted him as telling the Assembly of Experts, an elected body of senior clerics which supervises the Supreme Leader’s activities.
“The officials are responsible for continuing Iran’s drive for advanced technology, including nuclear energy, without yielding to the pressures.”
But Khamenei also noted the need for “wisdom and expediency” in handling the issue, a possible nod to faint internal criticism in Iran that Ahmadinejad and other senior officials have antagonized the West with inflammatory statements.
It is on to the United Nations Security Council for Iran. But, will they attempt to provoke the United States prior to the meeting?
Officials from the Security Council’s five permanent members met on Wednesday to discuss their strategy when the council takes up Iran’s case early next week.
Most diplomats expect the 15-nation council, which can impose sanctions, to first issue a statement urging Iran to comply with resolutions by the International Atomic Energy Agency board that it halt all uranium enrichment activities.
Iranian confrontation or conciliation prior to next week’s meeting?
Iranians chant slogans in a rally in front of the Natanz Uranium Enrichment Facility, some 200 miles (322 km) south of the capital Tehran, Iran, Thursday, March 9, 2006, to support Iran’s nuclear programs.
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The Natanz uranium enrichment complex in Natanz is pictured in this January 2, 2006 satellite image.
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