Tehran, Dec. 24 (Reuters): Iran condemned a UN sanctions resolution as “a piece of torn paper” that would not scare Tehran and vowed today to accelerate uranium enrichment work immediately.
The UN Security Council voted unanimously yesterday to impose sanctions on Iran’s trade in sensitive nuclear materials and technology, in an attempt to stop uranium enrichment work that could produce material to be used in bombs.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said those who backed the UN resolution, drawn up by Britain, France and Germany but supported unanimously by the Security Council, would soon regret their “superficial act”.
“It is a piece of torn paper... by which they aim to scare Iranians... It is in the westerners’ interest to live with a nuclear Iran,” the semi-official Fars news agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.
“Give up this muppet game. You (the backers of the resolution) cannot send secret friendly messages to us and at the same time show your teeth and claws. End this dual game,” Ahmadinejad was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying in a speech at the former US embassy in Tehran.
Iran insists its nuclear development, which had been carried out for many years in conditions of strict secrecy, is intended only for purposes of electrical power.
Chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, reacted swiftly to the vote. “We will start our installation activities (of 3,000 centrifuges) at the Natanz facility from Sunday,” he told the Kayhan newspaper. “It is our immediate answer to the resolution and we will go ahead with full speed.”
Acting US ambassador Alejandro Wolff said before yesterday’s 15-0 vote, which followed two months of tough negotiations: “Today we are placing Iran in the small category of states under Security Council sanctions.”
Iran, which refused to end its uranium enrichment work in exchange for economic incentives earlier this year, says the resolution is an illegal measure outside the council’s jurisdiction.
China immediately called for a resumption of talks to try to defuse the confrontation.
“The Chinese side calls on all sides to continue all-out diplomatic efforts to push for an early resumption of talks and seek a long-term, comprehensive solution,” said the foreign ministry today, adding that Beijing backed the UN resolution to punish Tehran.
The resolution demands Iran end all research on uranium enrichment, which can produce fuel for nuclear power plants as well as for bombs, and halt all research on methods of producing or delivering atomic weapons.
The thrust of the sanctions is a ban on imports and exports of dangerous materials and technology relating to uranium enrichment, reprocessing and heavy-water reactors, as well as ballistic missile delivery systems.
While Britain, France and Germany urged Iran to return to negotiations, the US sought tougher measures, such as an end to credits for Iran and a halt to arms sales.
The resolution includes a freeze on financial assets abroad of 12 individuals and 10 organisations from Iran associated with the nuclear programmes.