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Ahmadinejad says Iran Ready for More Sanctions - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A general view of the Iranian parliament is seen, during an open session to debate on the qualification of proposed cabinet list of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in Tehran, Iran. (AP)

A general view of the Iranian parliament is seen, during an open session to debate on the qualification of proposed cabinet list of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in Tehran, Iran. (AP)

TEHRAN (AFP) – A defiant President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Thursday Iran was ready for more sanctions and would not bow to pressure in meeting any deadline set by world powers over its nuclear programme.

“No one can impose sanctions on Iran anymore. We welcome sanctions. We have given our proposed package,” Ahmadinejad said, referring to a package of proposals that would form the basis of fresh talks with world powers.

The president was speaking to reporters after parliament strongly backed 18 of the 21 members of his proposed new cabinet.

An aide and Ahmadinejad’s chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, said that the president will go later this month to the UN General Assembly meeting in New York “to encourage Iranian views in managing the world.”

Iran’s reaction comes as the United States and five other world powers — Britain, China, Russia, France and Germany — pressed the Islamic republic on Wednesday to accept an offer of face-to-face nuclear talks before a key UN meeting in late September.

Senior diplomats from the six world powers, known as P5+1, and the EU, met in Frankfurt on Wednesday urging Iran to accept their offer of direct talks.

Earlier, foreign ministry spokesman Hassan Ghashghavi said Iran will not bow to “threat and pressure” in meeting any deadline set by world powers.

“We are a nation which believes in dialogue and interaction, but if they (six world powers) want to set up a deadline using threat and pressure, it is not acceptable,” Ghashghavi was quoted on Thursday as saying by the official IRNA news agency.

Iran insists its nuclear work is peaceful but Western countries suspect that Tehran wants atomic weapons. The UN Security Council has slapped three rounds of sanctions on the country, and pressure is growing for more.

A day ahead of the gathering in Germany, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili was quoted as saying that Tehran had updated its own package of proposals and was ready for fresh talks with world powers.

But the White House and EU maintain they had no official notification from Iran on any new proposals.

“We are a nation which believes in dialogue and interaction, but if they (six world powers) want to set up a deadline using threat and pressure, it is not acceptable,” Ghashghavi said.

He said Iran’s nuclear issue must be dealt by the International Atomic Energy Agency and not by the UN Security Council.

“They must understand that the Iranian nation and government will not surrender to pressures. It will go ahead with its programme based on international regulations,” he was quoted as saying by IRNA.

He also dismissed the threat of further sanctions if Iran failed to talk with global powers.

“We have said this many times that sanctions is a rusty sword which has no effect. There is no reason for retreat, but we are committed to our international obligations,” he added.

US State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said on Wednesday that world powers had stressed that “a negotiated solution is still open to Iran.”

“They expected Iran… to respond to the offer of talks (issued by the six) in April by agreeing to meet before the UN General Assembly meeting,” Kelly told reporters.

The General Assembly meets in New York the week of September 21.

Rahim Mashaie told reporters that the president will attend the assembly meeting in New York.

“He will undertake this trip which will be a good occasion to participate in an international meeting and to encourage Iranian views in managing the world,” Rahim Mashaie said.

The Frankfurt meeting was held after a UN atomic agency report last week said that Iran had slowed production of enriched uranium — usable in nuclear power but also weapons — and had agreed to tighter monitoring of its enrichment plant.

Iran insists its nuclear work is peaceful but Western countries suspect that Tehran wants atomic weapons. The UN Security Council has slapped three rounds of sanctions on the country, and pressure is growing for more.

Washington has also downplayed the IAEA report, saying Iran was still not cooperating fully with the UN inspectors.

Iranian MPs walk inside the parliament during debates over the proposed cabinet of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran. (AFP)

Iranian MPs walk inside the parliament during debates over the proposed cabinet of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran. (AFP)

An Iranian MP walks in the aisle of the parliament in Tehran as deputies hold their fourth day of debate on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's proposed cabinet. (AFP)

An Iranian MP walks in the aisle of the parliament in Tehran as deputies hold their fourth day of debate on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s proposed cabinet. (AFP)

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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