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Iran Vows Never to Retreat on Nuclear Program
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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday that Iran would resist pressure from the UN Security Council over its nuclear program, vowing that no power could alienate Tehran from its right to peaceful nuclear technology.

Ahmadinejad made the remarks to a crowd of thousands of people in the northeastern city of Gorgan in a speech broadcast live on state television.

Iran would not abandon its drive to produce nuclear fuel by "the harsh statements and pressures by the US and its allies", Ahmadinejad told the gathering.

The West "should be assured that through propaganda, political pressures and games they play nowadays such as issuing statements, making angry gestures...can't deny the Iranian nation from pursuing its path," he stressed.

The Iranian president also struck a defiant tone on the threat of political sanctions against Tehran.

The Western leaders say "we will not let Ahmadinejad travel to some Western countries if the Iranian people do not stop their path of seeking peaceful nuclear technology" and "I tell them I do not even want to set eyes on their faces," said Ahmadinejad. Meanwhile, Iran announced on Tuesday that it has resumed talks with Russia on Monday in Moscow over a Russia-proposed compromise plan to defuse the standoff over Iran's nuclear program.

An Iranian delegation, headed by Seyed Ali Hosseini-Tash, Deputy Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), has been talking with Russian officials in Moscow since Monday, said SNSC spokesman Hossein Entezami, quoted by the official IRNA news agency.

Later on Tuesday, five permanent members of the UN Security Council are set to discuss the Iranian nuclear file, which has the power to slap sanctions on Iran if Tehran doesn't back down in its confrontation over its nuclear ambitions.

Iran had conditioned an acceptance of the offer on a permit of Iran's uranium enrichment on a small scale at home. However, the United States and the European Union, who had expressed readiness to accept the Russian plan, insisted that Iran could not be allowed to do any enrichment work.

Due to Iran's rejection of returning to a moratorium on its enrichment-related activities, the International Atomic Energy Agency on Wednesday handed over its chief Mohamed ElBaradei's report on the Iranian nuclear issue to the UN Security Council soon after the agency's board of governors concluded a seasonal meeting.

Iran has denounced the involvement of the Security Council, vowing never to give in to pressures and bullies.

(Xinhua News Agency March 15, 2006)

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