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Monday, October 16, 2006

Iran to pursue atomic work

TEHRAN (Reuters): Iran's president said Tehran would keep up its nuclear activities despite Western countries' mounting threats and pressures, the student news agency ISNA reported on Sunday.

Barring a change of heart by Iran, the European Union's 25 foreign ministers want to agree at a meeting on Tuesday to ask the U.N. Security Council to impose sanctions, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Saturday.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was defiant at a meeting with a group of conservative officials on Saturday, saying Iran was determined to press on with its nuclear work.

"The threats and pressures against Iran's nuclear activities will not tarnish the will of the Iranian nation to continue its way (of achieving nuclear technology)," Ahmadinejad said.

"The nation will not be intimidated by the threats and will continue on its path vigorously," ISNA quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.

Iran's case has been sent back to the Security Council after it failed to halt uranium enrichment, a process the West fears Iran is using to develop atomic bombs despite Tehran's denials.

Iran has shrugged off the threat of sanctions in the past. Analysts say the world's fourth largest oil exporter, which is enjoying an oil revenue windfall, may feel it can cope with the modest penalties likely to be imposed initially.

Ahmadinejad said the request by Western countries for Iran to suspend uranium enrichment was illegal.

"If they succeed in imposing their illegal demand on us they will increase the pressure to impose extra demands," Ahmadinejad said. "By God's grace they will not be able to stand against the Iranian nation," he said.

Iran has proposed forming a consortium for uranium enrichment with other countries, saying it would be a way for them to monitor its atomic work to prove it was peaceful.

Iran has said it opposes atomic weapons and, in previous statements, has called for nuclear disarmament by all countries.
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