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Iran Defends Nuclear Drive in Letter to the UN - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad looks on while standing under a peace symbol during an anti-chemical weapon ceremony in Tehran. (R)

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad looks on while standing under a peace symbol during an anti-chemical weapon ceremony in Tehran. (R)

TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran has written to the 15 members of the UN Security Council insisting that new sanctions slapped on the Islamic republic will not affect its nuclear programme, the state news agency said on Thursday.

Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in the letters Iran “considers that the adoption of such (UN) resolutions will not affect its utterly peaceful nuclear programme,” the IRNA news agency reported.

Instead, Mottaki added in his letters to the foreign ministers of the Security Council member states, Iran is now “more determined” than ever to develop its atomic programme.

He criticized “the hasty adoption, at the insistence of America and its allies, of an unjust and illegal resolution against the great nation of Iran.”

On June 9, 12 members of the Security Council, including all five permanent members, voted in favor on imposing a fourth set of sanctions against Tehran over its uranium enrichment programme, the most controversial aspect of the nuclear drive.

Brazil and Turkey voted against and Lebanon abstained.

Mottaki thanked the Turkish and Brazilian foreign ministers for “resisting the pressure of some specific nations and voting against the resolution,” IRNA said.

He also reiterated Tehran’s position that, “nuclear weapons have no place in Iran’s defense and security policies.”

World powers led by Washington accuse the Islamic republic of seeking to build nuclear weapons and are demanding that it freeze its uranium enrichment activity, which can be a key step towards developing an atomic arsenal.

Iran insists its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes only.

The new UN measures authorize states to conduct high-seas inspections of vessels believed to be ferrying banned items to Iran and add 40 entities to a list of people and groups subject to travel restrictions and financial sanctions.

US President Barack Obama was meanwhile expected Thursday to sign a separate US package of tough new energy and financial sanctions on Iran, over and above those approved by the UN Security Council.

The US Senate and the House of Representatives approved the legislation last week by crushing 99-0 and 408-8 margins respectively.

The new congressional measures aim to choke off Iran’s access to imports of refined petroleum products like gasoline and jet fuel and curb its access to the international banking system.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad holds a peace symbol as he takes part in an anti-chemical weapon ceremony in Tehran. (R)

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad holds a peace symbol as he takes part in an anti-chemical weapon ceremony in Tehran. (R)

Chemical weapon attack victims, anti-chemical weapon activists and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (free pigeons as a symbol of peace after a ceremony in Tehran. (R)

Chemical weapon attack victims, anti-chemical weapon activists and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (free pigeons as a symbol of peace after a ceremony in Tehran. (R)

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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