Iran’s President Boasts, Taunts West: Iran Now a ‘Nuclear State’
February 11, 2010
(ChattahBox)—-Iran continued with its campaign of taunting the West with its nuclear capabilities on Thursday, as the regime celebrated the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution amid muted street protests by anti-government protesters. Earlier in the week Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei boasted of an action on Thursday that “will punch the arrogance” of Western powers. And Iran also announced that it would begin producing uranium to a higher level of enrichment. Now today, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, while addressing a massive rally of supporters in Tehran’s Azadi Square, said that Iran is now “a nuclear state” and that if Iran “wanted to” manufacture a nuclear bomb the Islamic regime would announce it to the world.
Thursday’s speech was made in the wake of the announcement by the United Nations and the U.S. of the imposition of tougher sanctions against Iran, specifically targeting the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which runs the country’s nuclear program. The UN, the United States and other Western nations are pressuring China and Russia to support the financial sanctions, or they would have little affect, since Russia and China are two of Iran’s biggest customers.
During Ahmadinejad’s speech, he boasted of Iran’s new capability to enrich uranium more than 20 percent. If true, this is troubling, since nuclear experts say that once a nuclear enrichment program reaches 20 percent, it can quickly climb to the 90 percent enrichment needed to produce a nuclear bomb:
“When we say we do not manufacture the bomb, we mean it, and we do not believe in manufacturing a bomb,” Ahmadinejad told the crowd. But he added, “If we wanted to manufacture a bomb, we would announce it.”
“Right now at Natanz we have the capability to enrich uranium to much higher levels,” Ahmadinejad said.
“I want to announce with a loud voice here that the first package of 20 percent fuel was produced and provided to the scientists,” he said. “In the near future we will treble its production,” declared Ahmadinejad.
He continued to add: “We have the capability to enrich uranium more than 20 percent or 80 percent.”
Although authorities only provided limited access to the event by foreign reporters, and cut off communication to the outside world, by slowing down the Internet, shutting down text messaging services and banning Google’s Gmail service, scattered reports of street clashes between protesters and security forces leaked out.
The Iranian opposition Web sites, Green Voice and Jaras, reported of protester arrests and security forces firing shots and tear gas at supporters of opposition leader, Mir Hussein Moussavi, at an anti-government rally in central Tehran.
In response to Iran’s increasing saber rattling, the United States Treasury Department imposed unilateral sanctions on Wednesday against a corps commander and four companies linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards.
President Obama announced on Tuesday that the White House and the UN were working towards “developing a significant regime of sanctions.” Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is pushing for a UN resolution imposing strict sanctions against Iran to be put into place by March.
Photo Source: Abedin Taherkenareh/European Pressphoto Agency
See The New York Times for more.