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EU Nuclear Deadline Passes Virtually Unmentioned in Iran


The European Union deadline for an answer on new proposals to end the Iranian nuclear controversy went almost unnoticed in Iran.

The July 11 deadline passed with almost no mention of the issue by official Iran.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad left Tehran for a visit to the northwestern city of Tabriz, where he gave a fiery speech, but made no mention of the nuclear controversy or the deadline.

Repeated attempts to obtain comment from various Iranian officials about the deadline were unsuccessful. A scheduled press conference by Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi was abruptly canceled. No reason was given for the cancellation.

The only official mention of the deadline inside Iran came in a dispatch by official state radio, which quoted Asefi as saying that the European Union must remove, what he termed, ambiguities in the proposal. He said the ambiguities are clearest in the economic and political fields and in the peaceful use of nuclear technology.

Asefi said that if the G-8 summit, which is scheduled to open in the Russian city of St. Petersburg, were take any actions that are, as he put it, not consistent with the rights of the Iranian nation, there will be no constructive points for Iran to continue the negotiations.

Iranian officials have said Tehran will not respond to the proposals until the end of August. U.S. officials have accused Iran of stalling.

In the bustling Tehran central bazaar, people voiced support for President Ahmadinejad's tough stance on the nuclear issue.

Mehdi Meshkini, a young wandering street vendor, echoed the Ahmadinejad administration's position, saying that Western countries are trying to deprive Iran of its right to nuclear technology.

While making no direct mention of the nuclear issue in Tabriz, President Ahmadinejad railed against Israel and what he termed the bullying powers of the West. He warned those who support Israel, which he referred to as the Zionist regime, to beware of the increasing anger of Muslims in the Middle East region and of the entire Islamic world, saying "this anger will not be limited to the region.