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Iranian leader insists on right to nuclear research

Ahmadinejad: Iran won't be intimidated



(CNN) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Saturday painted the United States and other Western nations as bullies with "a medieval view of the world" and insisted his nation has the right to conduct nuclear research.

"A few Western states ... have nuclear arsenals, they have chemical weapons. They have microbiological weapons. And every year they establish tens of new nuclear power plants. Now they are criticizing the Iranian nation ... because they think that they are powerful," Ahmadinejad said, apparently referring to the United States and the EU-3 -- Britain, France and Germany.

Talks between the EU-3 and Iran stalled last year, and Iran on Tuesday resumed research at its Natanz uranium enrichment plant -- an act viewed with suspicion by the United States and EU-3, which fear the country may be planning to produce a nuclear weapon.

"Our nation does not need a nuclear weapon," Ahmadinejad said. "We are a civilized and cultured nation. We have logic, we have civilization ... Nuclear weapons are only needed for people who want to solve everything through use of force." (Corrected translation of Ahmadinejad's comments on nuclear weapons and energy -- :30)

Ahmadinejad maintained Iran has done nothing wrong, saying that the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty both allow development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Referring Iran to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions will not end Iran's nuclear plans, Ahmadinejad said.

Ahmadinejad's comments came a day after President Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel met in Washington and jointly appealed to nations around the world to condemn Iran's nuclear activities. Bush said Iran "armed with a nuclear weapon ... a grave threat to the security of the world." (Full story)

'You are threatening us'

Germany's deputy foreign minister, in comments from an interview to be broadcast Sunday on German radio, said that imposing economic sanctions on Iran would be a "very dangerous path" and would hurt both sides, according to Reuters. He favored imposing travel restrictions on Iran

"We won't be intimidated ... You don't even want us to do some research," said Ahmadinejad. "That's not fair. Even if you bring in the international community, we're still not going to listen to you the way you want. You are just tricking us, and this is not fair. You're not going to stop our research."

He accused the Western nations of using the threat of referral to the U.N. Security Council as a "stick" to threaten Iran. "Every day, they bring in a stick and tell us either we have to listen to them and do what they want or be referred to the Security Council ... You are using it as a stick, you are threatening us with it."

Without naming the United States, Ahmadinejad referred to countries imposing an "artificial peace" on other nations, a peace he said would not last -- an apparent swipe at the U.S.-led war in Iraq. He said Iran had good relations with most countries, except for a few Western nations. "They don't really want good relations with us," he said.

Those nations, he said, also are among the world's most hated. Their leaders "can't even walk around without bodyguards," he said. "The election is always full of cheating. The turnout is very, very low."

He also questioned whether the Holocaust occurred and said Palestinians should be allowed to decide their own fate instead of being subject to Israel.

Possible U.N. Security Council resolution

All five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- Russia, China, the United States, France and the United Kingdom -- as well as Germany, will meet Monday and Tuesday to discuss the nuclear standoff, said the British Foreign Office on Friday.

All but Germany have veto power over any resolutions.

The meeting will focus on the language of a Security Council resolution that would not draw a Russian or Chinese veto, the statement said.

The United States has welcomed the EU-3's call for the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, to refer the issue to the Security Council. (Hear what U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had to say -- 2:48)

In response Friday, Tehran threatened to block inspections of its nuclear sites and stop working with the IAEA, if such a scenario occurs, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said.

The move reflects a law passed by Iran last year.

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