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Iranian President Says It Is Too Late to Stop Nuclear Program


Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says his country's nuclear program has broken through to a new stage. Amid fears that Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, the United Nations has demanded that Iran halt the enrichment of uranium. The Iranian president, speaking on the anniversary of Ayatollah Khomeini's death, repeated Iran's arguments for continuing the country's controversial nuclear program. Reporter Cache Seel has details from Cairo.

During a ceremony commemorating the 18th anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Khomeini, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said it is "too late" to stop his country's nuclear program.

Mr. Ahmadinejad says "It is too late to stop the progress of Iran. Iran has passed the point where they wanted to stop."

The statement comes one day before the G8 summit in Germany where the Iranian nuclear program is expected to be one of the main issues.

Recently, the head of the U.N.'s nuclear agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, predicted that Iran is three to eight years away from producing a nuclear weapon.

Washington has been lobbying other G8 countries for expanded sanctions against Tehran. The U.N. Security Council has already passed two sanctions resolutions against Iran.

President Ahmadinejad downplayed the effects of the sanctions. He also insisted that his country's program is for nuclear energy, saying Iran has the right to pursue uranium enrichment for peaceful purposes.

He says the U.N. Security Council must not be a defender of some powers and that it must defend the rights of nations based on law. He says the involvement of the Security Council in Iran's nuclear issue is illegal.

Ahmadinejad warned of the dangers of pressuring Iran, comparing his country to a lion in a corner.

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, met last week with the the European Union's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana. Following that meeting, Larijani said the issue of Iran's nuclear program could be solved in a matter of weeks if the Security Council drops plans to discuss a new round of sanctions.

Today, in Berlin, Larijani met with Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

The U.S. Secretary of State, Condaleezza Rice, has dismissed the recent talks, saying the only question worth discussing is whether or not Iran is ready to suspend the enrichment of uranium.

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