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Iran Defies Nuclear Program Sanction
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Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman reiterated on Sunday that Tehran's nuclear program is legitimate and that Iran would not give up its nuclear activities even under UN sanctions, the local Fars news agency reported.

"We will continue our peaceful nuclear activities," stressed the spokesman at his weekly press conference.

In the meantime, during a visit Friday to the country's elections headquarters, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said "Iranians had already conquered the peak of nuclear progress and the case with the nuclear issue has been closed".

More over, Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki stressed Sunday that Tehran would view any UNSC resolution on sanctions against Iran as a hostile measure.

Speaking at a joint press conference with his Armenian counterpart, Mottaki described referral of Iran's nuclear dossier to the UNSC as "illegal and politically-driven".

"When a completely technical issue is pretended to be a security problem, it means that they are politicizing the issue," he was quoted as saying.

These remarks from Tehran's leadership came merely two days after Iran's elections of the Assembly of Experts and local councils.  

It has been reported that the turnout was quite strong on Friday above previous expectations. Government officials have touted the high voter turnout as a "message" to the West and local analysts have also considered the turnout as encouragement for the government to resist Western pressure on the nuclear issue.  

"Through their impressive turnout under the current sensitive circumstances, the Iranian people sent a clear message to enemies of Iran's development," the official IRNA news agency quoted Interior Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi as saying, who was obviously referring to western critics of Iran's nuclear program. 

The EU trio of Britain, France and Germany on Dec. 8 introduced a modified draft resolution to 15 member states of the UNSC and hoped it would pass as soon as possible.

According to media reports, the draft requested Iran to cease enrichment and work on a heavy-water reactor while allowing International Atomic Energy Agency experts to carry out snap inspections.

Last week, Western officials said the EU trio, the US, Russia and China were making progress toward the resolution that would impose penalties on Iran.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrovalso has said consensus in the UNSC on Iran's nuclear program can be reached in the next two weeks if the world powers take a "realistic approach".

(Xinhua News Agency December 18, 2006)

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