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Iranian President Says No Legal Basis for New Sanctions


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says there is no legal basis for any new sanctions against Iran.

In Tehran Tuesday, Mr. Ahmadinejad praised the latest U.S. intelligence report that concluded Iran stopped a secret nuclear weapons program in 2003 as a "step forward." The Iranian president also said further such steps would pave the way for the resolution of regional issues.

President Bush today told reporters Iran is dangerous. He added it must explain to United Nations experts why it had a secret military weapons program. Iran has never acknowledged it had one.

The comments were made as diplomats from the U.N. Security Council discussed the draft of a new sanctions resolution against Iran for its uranium enrichment program.

Officials from the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany, Tuesday held a 90-minute conference call. U.S. State Department Spokesman, Sean McCormack, said the diplomats had a good, constructive conversation, with more work needed to finalize a resolution. He said officials will hold another discussion soon.

U.S. officials say Iran has continued to enrich uranium, despite previous U.N. sanctions. The U.S. says Tehran is still a threat, and could re-start a nuclear weapons program quickly.

Meanwhile, an exiled Iranian opposition group Tuesday contested the latest U.S. intelligence review, saying Iran resumed its nuclear weapons program, after halting it in 2003. The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) alleges that nuclear activities continue at sites in Iran. Iranian President Ahmadinejad rejected the allegations.

NCRI is the political wing of the People's Mujahedeen of Iran and has been designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. and European Union.

And, Iran's Fars news agency says Tehran has begun a new round of talks with U.N. experts who are seeking information on past nuclear activities.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.