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Iranian uranium-enrichment plant in Isfahan (file photo) (AFP)
May 4, 2006 -- Iran said today it would not bow to pressure or threats and would decisively pursue its nuclear programs.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Assefi said Iran "recommends the West to stick to more logical solutions as the language of threat would just make the issue more complicated."
Assefi's statement came as U.S. President George W. Bush, speaking in Washington on May 3, demanded that Iran give up nuclear weapons ambitions "for the sake of world peace."
"The Iranians must understand that we won't fold, that our partnership is strong, that for the sake of world peace, they should abandon their nuclear weapons ambitions," Bush said. "And we're resolute on that matter."
Great Britain and France, backed by the United States, have introduced a draft UN Security Council resolution demanding Iran suspend uranium enrichment that the West suspects is part of a secret nuclear weapons program.
The draft invokes Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which allows the use of sanctions or even military force to make a country comply with Security Council demands.
(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.