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Iran Cleric Warns the West Over Atomic Pressure - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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TEHRAN (Reuters) Iran will never give up its nuclear program and unfair treatment of the country over its atomic work will have consequences for the West and the Middle East, powerful cleric Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said on Sunday.

The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously last week to impose sanctions on Iran’s trade in sensitive nuclear materials and technology, in an attempt to stop uranium enrichment work that could produce material that could be used in bombs.

“This is a dangerous resolution … It will not bring about the desired outcome. No resolution can make us give up atomic work,” Rafsanjani, an adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told worshippers at Tehran University on the occasion of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

Rafsanjani said there would be consequences if Iran was treated unfairly over its nuclear program, which Tehran says is for peaceful purposes only and the West fears is a cover for building nuclear bombs.

“They (Westerners) are creating problems for themselves and the region … the consequences of this fire will burn many others,” Rafsanjani told worshippers who chanted “Death to America.”

Rafsanjani did not elaborate on what those consequences might be. “They should not start a path, which could be dangerous for everyone,” he said in comments broadcast live on state radio.

U.S. and British officials have accused Iran of aiding terrorism and fuelling armed groups inside Iraq, undermining the Lebanese government and blocking Israeli-Palestinian peace. Iran denies the charges.

Iran’s parliament passed a bill on Wednesday obliging the government to “revise” its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and to accelerate its drive to master nuclear technology in a reaction to the U.N. resolution.

The bill gave President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government a free hand to adopt a tougher line against the IAEA, including ending its inspections of Iran’s atomic facilities.

Iran in February ended voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty that allowed for short notice IAEA inspections of its nuclear sites, after being referred to the U.N. Security Council.

Under Iran’s system of clerical rule, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has the last say on state matters, not the president. Khamenei has previously said Iran would not yield to pressure.

Rafsanjani, head of the powerful Expediency Council, Iran’s main legislative arbitration body, insisted Iran “wanted to resolve the issue peacefully.”

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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