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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Iran nuclear program an inspiration: Ahmadinejad

Iran nuclear program an inspiration: Ahmadinejad
Thu Dec 21, 2006 6:19 AM ET

TEHRAN (Reuters) - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday mocked the United States and its allies for trying to stop Iran's nuclear program which he said had become a source of inspiration for other nations.

Britain's U.N. Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry said on Wednesday he expected the U.N. Security Council to vote this week on a resolution imposing sanctions on Iran for failing to heed calls it halt sensitive nuclear fuel production work.

Iran says its nuclear program will only be used for peaceful aims, such as electricity generation, and not to make bombs as United States and its European allies fear.

Ahmadinejad said Western efforts to deflect Iran from its goal were fruitless.

"America and some European countries know well that they are incapable of doing anything against the Iranian nation," he told crowds during a speech in western Iran.

"They think the Iranian nation will wait for their permission to make progress but they should know that the Iranian nation has chosen the path of greatness of honor," the official IRNA news agency reported.

The president reiterated a prediction that Iran would announce it had become a full member of the nuclear energy club during celebrations to mark the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution in February.

He said Western efforts to rein in Iran's nuclear plans were motivated by fear that others would follow Tehran's example.

"Iran's independence, prosperity and progress will soon become an example for other nations," he said.

"The bullying powers are also afraid that the Iranian nation's progress will raise the expectations of other nations, pushing them to stand up to these powers," he added.

Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki struck a more conciliatory tone in Tehran, stressing that Iran wanted to return to negotiations over its nuclear program.

"We believe it is possible to build a bridge between the two sides such that Iran can have its rights (to nuclear energy) and any question or ambiguity (about its program) can be removed," he said.

"We have to repeat that the language of threat has lost its usefulness and negotiation is the best way to find a possible solution," he told a joint news conference with visiting Pakistani Foreign Minister Kursheed Mehmood Kasuri.

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