November 15, 2007 / 7:19 PM / 12 years ago

Nuclear report vindicates Iran: Ahmadinejad

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran said on Thursday it had been vindicated in a report by the U.N. atomic watchdog and there would be no legal basis for further discussion at the U.N. Security Council of its nuclear plans.

“We welcome this, that the International Atomic Energy Agency has found its role and with the publication of (IAEA chief Mohamed) ElBaradei’s report the world will see that the Iranian nation has been right and the resistance of our nation has been correct,” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said.

Western nations accuse Iran of seeking to build atomic bombs under cover of a civilian nuclear program. Tehran insists its ambitions are peaceful and aimed at generating electricity.

The U.N. Security Council has demanded Iran halt uranium enrichment, the part of the program that most worries the West because it can have both civilian and military applications.

“It will be surprising if they continue discussing Iran’s case at the U.N. Security Council because, based on this report, the discussion will have no legal and international basis,” Mohammad Saeedi, deputy director of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, told Reuters.

The timing and toughness of any further U.N. sanctions will hinge on world powers’ interpretation of the IAEA report, as well as another report due from the European Union’s top diplomat, Javier Solana, on recent dialogue with Iran.

Tehran has consistently refused to stop its atomic work and the IAEA report, released on Thursday, said Tehran had expanded its activities.

“It is possible to be flexible on some issues but there are some (other) fields that if one gives (them) up, the rights of a nation is suppressed and the future is lost, and nuclear energy is one of these issues,” Ahmadinejad said, in comments carried by the official IRNA news agency.

Iran has agreed with the U.N. agency on a plan to clear up questions about its program in order to allay any doubts.

The IAEA report said Iran had made important strides toward transparency but had yet to resolve key outstanding questions.

The United States, which is leading efforts to isolate Iran, said Iran continued to provide “partial answers” about its nuclear plans and Washington would push for more U.N. sanctions. Two sanctions resolutions have already been passed.

Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, said he did not expect another resolution to be passed but said “if it happens it will have an impact” on the Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA. He said accusations against Iran were “baseless”.

Russia and China, both veto-wielding members of the Security Council, have been resisting moves to toughen penalties on Iran.

Additional reporting by Zahra Hosseinian; writing by Edmund Blair; editing by Philippa Fletcher

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