Iran Will Continue Nuclear Program

Iran’s formal reply to an economic incentives package in exchange for its halting of its urnanium enrichment program is supposed to be issued tomorrow, August 22nd, but we get word today that Iran is, unsurprisingly, saying no:

TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Monday Iran would press ahead with its pursuit of nuclear energy, indicating it will not heed a U.N. demand it stop enriching uranium or face possible sanctions.

Khamenei, who has the final word, did not mention enrichment by name but senior officials have repeated in recent days that it would not be stopped. The deputy head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization joined the chorus on Monday.

“Considering the technical advancement of Iranian scientists, the suspension of uranium enrichment is not possible any more,” Mohammad Saeedi told Iran’s Fars News Agency.

Saeedi said Iran would formally reply on Tuesday to a nuclear package offered by six world powers, in return for an end to enrichment, that is aimed at allaying the West’s fears that Iran wants atomic bombs.

Khamenei said Iran would pursue its nuclear plans.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has made its decision and, in the issue of nuclear energy, will continue its path powerfully … and it will receive the sweet fruits of its efforts,” state television quoted him as saying.

Meanwhile, Iran refused to allow UN inspectors into its underground nuclear facilities:

VIENNA, Austria – Iran has turned away U.N. inspectors wanting to examine its underground nuclear site in an apparent violation of the Nonproliferation Treaty, diplomats and U.N. officials said Monday.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the confidentiality of the information, told The Associated Press that Iran’s unprecedented refusal to allow access to the facility at Natanz could seriously hamper international efforts to ensure that Tehran is not trying to make nuclear weapons.

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