July 21, 2006

Iran cleric accuses UN of tyranny

TEHRAN (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council risks
committing "a historic act of tyranny" against Iran if it
passes a resolution demanding Tehran stop making nuclear fuel,
powerful cleric Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said on Friday.

U.N. Security Council permanent members are wrangling over
the text of a draft resolution that includes the threat of
sanctions if Iran fails to halt making enriched uranium, which
the West argues will be used in atomic warheads.

"On our nuclear issue, we are now witnessing a cruel act,"
Rafsanjani told Friday prayers worshippers in Tehran.

"They are going to commit another historic act of tyranny
against Iran, despite Iran announcing several times that it is
ready to negotiate," he added, referring to the U.N. Security
Council resolution.

He said it would be humiliating for Iran to end its
domestic nuclear fuel cycle, which it says it needs to run
nuclear power stations.

"If Iran accepts, that would mean putting our hands up and
surrendering," he continued.

Former President Rafsanjani heads the powerful Expediency
Council, Iran's main legislative arbitration body. Since the
1979 revolution, he has been a political powerbroker and his
family hold massive economic sway in the Islamic Republic.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton said on Wednesday
major powers disagreed about how to make legally binding
demands that Iran suspend enrichment and stop work on a reactor
that can produce plutonium, which can have military uses.

Russia and China, both of which have opposed sanctions,
have raised questions in informal talks about the draft
resolution backed by Western nations.

The drafts looks to set a date, possibly by the end of
August, for Iran to comply.

The United States has consistently declined to rule out
military strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities.