Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Ahmadinejad says Iran to install advanced centrifuges
Amid a White House campaign to drum up support for new anti-Iran sanctions, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned on Tuesday that world powers would "regret" any moves against the country.
"If anybody seeks to create problems for Iran, our response will not be like before," Ahmadinejad told a press conference in the capital city of Tehran.
"Something will be done in response that will make them [the world powers] regret [their action]," he said. "However, we prefer they steer towards cooperation [with Iran]."
The remarks came as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was wrapping up her visit to the Middle East, where she stopped in Qatar and Saudi Arabia to seek the backing of the Arab world's heavyweights against Tehran's nuclear drive.
Iran says its nuclear program is directed at the civilian applications of the technology and has called for the removal of all weapons of mass destruction around the globe.
The West, however, accuses the country of seeking military means in its pursuit. The United States has spearheaded efforts to slap new UN Security Council sanctions against Iran, after the country announced the production of the first batch of 20-percent enriched uranium to make fuel for a medical research reactor in Tehran.
At the conference, President Ahmadinejad said negotiations over a nuclear fuel deal with France, Russia and the US were not over. He said Iran still welcomed a deal that would see a "simultaneous" swap.
"The proposal for the fuel exchange is not closed yet. We have announced that we will exchange within a just framework," he said. "We are ready for an exchange even with the United States. The US can come and give us their 20 percent fuel and we will pay them if they want, or we can give them 3.5 percent fuel."
"But the swap should take place simultaneously and we will put our fuel under the supervision of the [UN nuclear] agency in Iran."
Iran is currently under three rounds of UNSC sanctions resolutions, which call on the country to abandon its enrichment work. Under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), however, Iran is entitled to continue its drive for civilian purposes.
President Ahmadinejad boasted that Iran has adapted to the sanctions, which, he said, have put the country on a path of constant progress.
President Obama, Guantanamo Bay Prison and 'Change'
Ahmadinejad said his American counterpart should seek a practical method to implement change, and should carry out his promise of shutting down the Guantanamo prison.
"President Obama came to power with the promise of hope," Ahmadinejad told a press conference in Tehran. "[He promised] to close the prison in Guantanamo Bay in one year, where anything that happens is against all human rights."
"People were kidnapped and snatched and are being kept without lawyers and judges and are being tortured," the Iranian president said. "We do not know who they are, but this behavior is against human rights."
US Vice President Joe Biden said in remarks aired Sunday that 11 of the suspects held at the prison would be tried, some eight years after the detention center was set up.
The Bush administration argued that detainees were not entitled to any of the protections of the Geneva Conventions, after the Justice Department said the prison, located in Cuba, could be considered outside US legal jurisdiction.
In January 2009, President Barack Obama signed an order to shut down the facility within the year.
However, the administration has faced increasing trouble in finding new homes for the detainees with many US allies refusing to admit them on their soil.
On the issue of Iraq, Ahmadinejad said President Obama is pressing Baghdad to allow Baath — the political party of former dictator Saddam Hussein — back into the country's political system.
He said the move runs counter to the US intentions of invading Iraq in 2003, which was aimed at toppling the Baath regime.
Ahmadinejad also advised the Obama administration to find a practical way to implement the promise of change.
On February 11, the anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution, President Ahmadinejad touched on the subject and warned his American counterpart that he is "missing opportunities" to do what the American people want.
Iran's nuclear drive: Advanced centrifuges
Referring to a new milestone in Iran's progress in nuclear science, Ahmadinejad said the country has tested a new generation of centrifuges that are capable of enriching uranium more than five times the output capacity of the standard P1's.
"We are in the final stages of testing a new generation of centrifuges that will increase fivefold our capacity to enrich uranium," he noted.
If the tests prove to be a success, he said, the new centrifuges will be installed and used in Iranian power plants in near future. "It goes without saying that we need new centrifuges to provide fuel for our nuclear installations."
Regarding the government's recent steps to domestically generate higher enriched uranium, Ahmadinejad said that the country would continue its efforts to fully meet the many requirements of its people.
"We have already started enriching uranium up to 20 percent and have managed to complete production of our first stock," he said. "Soon the whole world will be able to see that we [intend to use] this stock in our medical-research reactor in Tehran."
The Tehran research reactor produces medical isotopes.
On Western concerns about the nuclear program, Ahmadinejad said we publicize any activity that we carry out, or intend to do. "We cannot announce every thing that we don't do."