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Iranian President Vows to Push Ahead With Nuclear Program

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has vowed that Iran will move ahead with its nuclear program. He was speaking a day after the U.N. nuclear agency reported that Iran has failed to stop enriching uranium as demanded by the Security Council. For VOA, Leslie Boctor reports from Cairo.

President Ahmadinejad, in comments carried on state television, said that Iran should not show weakness in the face of Western demands to suspend its nuclear program, adding that resistance would force the West to back down on its demands.

On Thursday, the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, reported Iran was still continuing its uranium enrichment, despite a U.N. imposed deadline to suspend its nuclear activities, which the West says could be used for making weapons.

At a Friday prayer meeting in Tehran, former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who had recently urged a more conciliatory stance toward the West in the nuclear dispute, appeared to be backing Mr. Ahmadinejad's position.

"I tell them clearly and certainly that this path will not come to any conclusion except making trouble for them, for the world and particularly for the region, it will not have any outcome for them," he said.

In December, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution giving Iran 60 days to halt enrichment work, or face severe economic sanctions. That deadline expired Wednesday prompting the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog to issue a report that opens the way for additional sanctions against Iran.

Iran denies Western claims that it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, saying its program is for purely peaceful ends. Mohammad Saeedi, deputy head of Iran's nuclear agency, said Iran had a right under international law to pursue uranium enrichment, and that the U.N. demands had no legal basis.

Earlier this week, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was "deeply concerned that the Iranian government did not meet the Wednesday deadline set by the Security Council." Permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany will meet in London on Monday to discuss further sanctions against Iran.