Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared yesterday that the country's controversial nuclear program poses no threat to any other country, even Israel "which is a definite enemy."
Ahmadinejad spoke after inaugurating a heavy-water production plant, which went into operation despite UN demands that Iran roll back its nuclear program. Tehran says is for peaceful purposes, but Western nations fear it could be used to develop a nuclear bomb.
During a speech, Ahmadinejad declared that Iran would never abandon its nuclear program and repeated that nuclear weapons is not the goal.
"Basically, there is no talk of nuclear weapons. There is no discussion of nuclear weapons," he said. "We are not a threat to anybody, even the Zionist regime, which is a definite enemy for the people of the region."
Iran is under a Thursday deadline established by the UN Security Council to suspend uranium enrichment or face political and economic sanctions. Tehran has called the Security Council's resolution that set the deadline "illegal" and has insisted it won't give up its nuclear program.
Iran also responded last Tuesday to an incentives package presented by the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany. Tehran said it would be open to negotiations but did not agree to the West's key demand to halt uranium enrichment as a precondition to talks.
Ahmadinejad yesterday affirmed Iran's right to develop nuclear technology.
"They may impose some restrictions on us under pressure. But will they be able to prevent the thoughts of a nation? Will they be able to prevent the progress and technology to a nation? They have to accept the reality of a powerful, peace-loving and developed Iran. This is in the interest of all governments and all nations whether they like it or not," he said.
Though the West's main worry has been uranium enrichment, it also has called on Iran to stop the construction of a heavy-water reactor near the plant that Ahmadinejad inaugurated.
Iran has been a building the reactor for two years but is not scheduled to complete it until 2009.
Nuclear weapons can be produced using either plutonium or highly enriched uranium as the explosive core. Either substance can be produced in the process of running a reactor.
Reactors fueled by enriched uranium use regular -- or "light" -- water as a "moderator" in the chain reaction that produces energy.
Reactors using "heavy water" contains a heavier hydrogen particle, which allows the reactor to run on natural uranium mined by Iran, forgoing the enrichment progress. But the spent fuel from a heavy-water reactor can be reprocessed to extract plutonium for use in a bomb.
Taiwan has donated US$700,000 to two APEC sub-funds to highlight the importance of health and technology amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. Taiwan has been a member of APEC since joining the 21-member organization under the name “Chinese Taipei” in 1991. Malaysia, the host for all APEC meetings this year, has informed member states that the second senior officials’ meeting, scheduled for June 15 to 28, is to be postponed due to the pandemic, Department of International Organizations Director-General Bob Chen (陳龍錦) told a regular news briefing in Taipei. However, a virtual extraordinary senior officials’ meeting for discussing
US President Donald Trump yesterday threatened social media companies with new regulation or even shuttering after Twitter on Tuesday added fact-checks to two of his tweets. The president cannot unilaterally regulate or close the companies, which would require action by the US Congress or the US Federal Communications Commission, but that did not stop Trump from angrily issuing a strong warning. Claiming technology giants “silence conservative voices,” Trump wrote on Twitter: “We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen.” He repeated his unsubstantiated claim — which sparked his latest showdown with Silicon Valley — that
The Japanese government yesterday ended its nationwide state of emergency as COVID-19 cases tail off, and announced a decision on funding for a new aid package to help the battered economy. Tokyo and its surrounding prefectures, as well as the northern island of Hokkaido, were the last remaining areas under the state of emergency, and the lift came a week ahead of schedule. Tokyo, with its surrounding prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama, has a combined population of about 35 million people and an annual output of ￥182.2 trillion (US$1.7 trillion), which in global terms would make it the world’s 11th-largest economy. Japanese
The Afghan government announced it would free 900 prisoners yesterday, its single largest prisoner release since the US and the Taliban signed a peace deal earlier this year that spells out an exchange of detainees between the warring sides. The announcement came as a three-day ceasefire with the insurgents drew to an end. The Taliban had called for the truce during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. There are expectations that the prisoner release could lead to new reductions in violence, and Taliban officials said they are considering an