Ahmadinejad sounds defiant nuclear note

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The Independent Online

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed on Friday that the West will not deprive Iran of nuclear technology, sounding a defiant note as the Big Powers stepped up pressure to accept a new package of incentives to stop sensitive nuclear activities.

Ahmadinejad did not directly mention the package agreed on a day earlier by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany, which calls on Iran to suspend uranium enrichment and come back to the negotiating table over its nuclear program.

But he insisted on Iran's right to pursue nuclear technology.

"The efforts of some Western countries to deprive us will not bear any fruit," he said, according to the state news agency IRNA.

"The reason of their opposition is not their claim of concern over nuclear weapons, but Iran's access to the technology that means opening of the way for all independent countries, especially Islamic countries to the advanced technology," he said after talks with the head of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

He said Iran has cooperated with the UN nuclear watchdog agency and indirectly blamed Israel for the pressure on Tehran to give up enrichment. "Unfortunately, some who have huge arsenals of nuclear weapons and are not members of NPT, are today in the position of decision making and want to deprive us from our inalienable rights," he said.

The united front among the Untied States, Europe, Russia and China - reached in talks in Vienna on Thursday - puts unprecedented pressure on Tehran to accept the deal.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday that Tehran must respond quickly. Otherwise, she made clear Iran would face UN sanctions.

Details of the offer have not been made public, and a senior US state department official in Vienna said the Iranians will be given the package in the next few days. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to give statements on the matter.

Diplomats in Vienna said the deal outlines incentives for Iran to suspend uranium enrichment and return to the negotiating table - with the United States included in the talks.