From the AP:
Iran has successfully enriched uranium for the first time, a landmark in its quest to develop nuclear fuel, hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday. He insisted, however, that his country does not aim to develop nuclear weapons.
In a nationally televised speech, Ahmadinejad called on the West “not to cause an everlasting hatred in the hearts of Iranians” by trying to force Iran to abandon uranium enrichment.
“At this historic moment, with the blessings of God almighty and the efforts made by our scientists, I declare here that the laboratory- scale nuclear fuel cycle has been completed and young scientists produced enriched uranium needed to the degree for nuclear power plants Sunday,” Ahmadinejad said.
“I formally declare that Iran has joined the club of nuclear countries,” he told an audience that included top military commanders and clerics in the northwestern holy city of Mashhad. The crowd broke into cheers of “Allahu akbar!” or “God is great!” Some stood and thrust their fists in the air.
The U.N. Security Council has demanded that Iran stop all uranium enrichment activity by April 28. Iran has rejected the demand, saying it has a right to develop the process. The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, is due in Iran this week for talks to try to resolve the standoff.
The White House denounced the latest comments from Iranian officials, with spokesman Scott McClellan saying they “continue to show that Iran is moving in the wrong direction.”
Ahmadinejad said Iran “relies on the sublime beliefs that lie within the Iranian and Islamic culture. Our nation does not get its strength from nuclear arsenals.”
Mark Steyn, as usual, is on the mark as to what we need to do in order to tackle the growing threats coming from Iran.
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