Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Wednesday Israel and its Western backers “cannot do a … thing to stop Iran’s nuclear work.”
In a televised speech at an Iranian uranium conversion plant in Isfahan, Ahmadinejad rejected the “illegal” censure of his nation by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). He said the agency was “under pressure from a few superficially powerful countries.”
The IAEA passed a resolution Friday denouncing Iran for constructing a secret enrichment plant near the city of Qom. Tehran responded by announcing plans to build 10 more uranium enrichment sites.
Ahmadinejad said Iran would enrich its uranium to higher levels despite international calls to halt its enrichment activities. He also said international sanctions would be ineffective. “Aggressors will regret their action as soon as they put their finger on the trigger,” he said.
“Iran’s nuclear issue has been resolved… [and] there is no need for [more] talks,”Ahmadinejad said. He added that Tehran is “not obliged to inform the International Atomic Energy Agency about our plans to build nuclear sites unless the technology is imported. Friendly relations with the [IAEA] are over.”
The German news journal Der Spiegel reported that Iranian scientists are believed to have successfully simulated the detonation of a nuclear warhead, one of the most technologically challenging problems it would face in developing a nuclear weapon.
Experts believe it could take Iran as little as a year to acquire the expertise and a sufficient quantity of highly enriched uranium to build a real nuclear warhead.
The same paper also cites intelligence reports as warning that a restructuring has been ordered within the Iranian Defense Ministry, which is an indication that the department responsible for Tehran’s military nuclear program is under government pressure to push ahead with its activities.
Janes Defense Weekly reported on Wednesday that it has satellite images that prove that construction activity at the site near Qom has increased since the enrichment facility was exposed in October.
Iranian officials have said they would like to have the plant up and running by early 2011.
[Source: International Christian Embassy Jerusalem; icej.org]