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Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad (file photo) (Fars)
April 30, 2006 -- President Mahmud Ahmadinejad today rejected talks with the international community on Iran's controversial nuclear program without an acknowledgement of Iran's legitimate right to pursue nuclear technology.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Assefi earlier said Iran would show "maximum cooperation" if the UN Security Council returned the case to the jurisdiction of the UN's nuclear agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Assefi also warned that Tehran would respond to any harsh action by the Security Council with an equal tough -- but unspecified -- action.
The comments come the day after Iranian deputy nuclear chief Mohammad Saidi said Tehran intends to continue uranium-enrichment work. He also indicated that Iran would allow unannounced checks of atomic facilities on the condition that the case was dealt with by the IAEA.
The White House has rejected the offer.
(compiled from agency reports)
Economic sanctions could further undermine Iran's already shaky economy (Fars)
MOVING TOWARD SANCTIONS: If the United Nations Security Council imposes sanctions on Iran, domestic support for Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad will wane, according to ALEX VATANKA, Eurasia editor for Jane's Information Group.
Vatanka told a February 24 RFE/RL briefing that "economic sanctions will hurt the average Iranian" and, consequently, many "will blame the ruling clerics" for making life difficult and "impairing the country's long term development."
Vatanka said sanctions would be a serious challenge to the Iranian government. If harsh economic sanctions were imposed, Iran's poorest population will be hurt the hardest -- and might react "as they did in the 1970s and protest in the streets." Sanctions on travel, Vatanka said, would hurt a many Iranians because "Iran is a nation of small traders" who depend on the ability to travel to earn an income. According to Vatanka, unemployment in Iran is estimated at 30 percent, "so small trading is essential to survival." Although current U.S. sanctions "haven't worked," he said, "Iranians fear an oil embargo." He stressed that "oil revenues are a major part of the economy, so it is critical to look at this sector."
Should negotiations with the European Union and the UN fail, Vatanka believes that Iran would follow a "North Korea model," since Ahmadinejad's base of support among the "Islamist militias" has been "urging withdrawal from the NPT [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty]." The Iranian government's "tactic" so far, Vatanka said, is governed by the belief that "by shouting the loudest, you'll get concessions [from the West]."
Listen to the complete panel discussion (about 60 minutes):
THE COMPLETE STORY: RFE/RL's coverage of the controversy surrounding Iran's nuclear program.
CHRONOLOGY An annotated timeline of Iran's nuclear program.