September 9, 2005

Iran cleric says atomic work will go ahead

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran will not be intimidated by
international threats to abandon its nuclear program, which the
West fears is a front for covert bomb-making, said former
President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on Friday.

Rafsanjani called on the western countries to stop making a
fuss over Iran's atomic activities, which he said was only to
meet the Islamic state's energy needs and not to build bombs.

Iran faces mounting international pressure after the U.N.
nuclear watchdog said Tehran had resumed uranium conversion at
Isfahan last month, ending a freeze of sensitive nuclear work
under a November 2004 deal with France, Britain and Germany.

"Iran is determined to use peaceful nuclear technology and
no intimidation or threat can make us give it up," Rafsanjani
told Friday prayer worshippers at Tehran University.

Washington and the EU that suspect Iran could use its
nuclear power program to develop the capability to produce
atomic weapons, are trying to reach a broad consensus for
sending Iran's case to the U.N. Security Council.

The International Atomic Energy Agency's governing board
meet on September 19 in Vienna to discuss Iran's nuclear

Rafsanjani called on the United States and the Europeans to
avoid adopting "illogical" measures at the IAEA meeting.

"If they make immature decisions or implement their
threats, Iran will not be the only country to be harmed," he
said in a sermon broadcast live on state radio.

"It is our sovereign right to obtain atomic technology for
peaceful purposes."

Russia, which is helping build a nuclear plant in Iran,
said on Monday it opposed reporting Tehran to the council. It
has a veto on the council and could block any move to

Rafsanjani, head of the Expediency Council which arbitrates
on legislative disputes, accused the United States of trying to
create a negative atmosphere about Iran.

"The world knows that we have nothing to hide. But
Americans are making a fuss over it," Rafsanjani told
worshippers who chanted "death to America."

Iran's hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, attending a
U.N. meeting in New York next week, is expected to present a
new proposal to resolve Iran's nuclear stand-off with the West.