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President Mahmud Ahmadinejad’s statement that Iran has produced highly enriched uranium was the headline-grabber from his speech in Tehran today.

But an accusation launched just before that bombshell really had our heads spinning. I checked with our veteran Iran correspondent, Golnaz Esfandiari, and she confirmed that, yes, this was stranger and more virulent than Ahmadinejad’s usual brand of demagoguery.

While talking about Iran’s negotiations with the West on nuclear fuel for medical purposes, he made this charge:

"We told them, if you don’t give us nuclear fuel, we'll produce it ourselves. They started making jokes and repeating their senseless words. They were not even thinking about sick people. The world should know that [Western powers] even play with [the lives] of sick people. You see how a few months ago, they mutated a virus in laboratories and spread it so they could sell medicine. That’s how they are. This is the nature of those who want to take away God, morality, purity, and faith from the life of the humanity. Well, again, they didn't give us [nuclear fuel]. We were forced to produce it ourselves."
Ahmadinejad's not the first to make such a claim. But it’s understandable if he wasn’t aware of that.

We’ve heard it's extremely hard, if not impossible, to get onto the Internet today in Iran.

-- Bruce Jacobs

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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