Tehran, Iran, Oct. 24 â€“ Iranâ€™s hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad charted an intransigent course for his countryâ€™s controversial nuclear program and mocked the Westâ€™s response to the recent resumption of nuclear activities by Iran, which was sharply condemned in a European-sponsored resolution by the board of governors of the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Speaking at a gathering of university students in Tehran, Ahmadinejad said of the Westâ€™s response, â€œAt first, they made a lot of noise about it, but gradually they were made to sit down quietlyâ€.
The text of his speech was published in Mondayâ€™s issue of the semi-official daily Jomhouri Islami.
Ahmadinejad said his government will resume work on the full nuclear fuel cycle, which includes uranium enrichment, adding that his government â€œseriously supportedâ€ the resumption of nuclear activities at the Uranium Conversion Facility in Isfahan â€œand will stand by this decisionâ€.
â€œThe Islamic Republic reached the conclusion that continuing the status quo was harmful to our national securityâ€, he said.
â€œThe more we retreated, the more they stepped forward, to the extent that Mohammad ElBaradei, the secretary general of the [International Atomic Energy] Agency [IAEA] recently told us, â€˜They donâ€™t want you to have nuclear technologyâ€™.â€, Ahmadinejad said, referring to the now suspended negotiations between Iran and the European trio of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
â€œWhy should we give in?â€ the ultra-Islamist president asked. â€œWhere does it say in our laws that we have to beg the Europeans for our rights?â€
Ahmadinejad expressed confidence that the West will be forced to retreat in the face of the Iranian regimeâ€™s uncompromising stance, and he indicated that his government was emboldened by what it perceived as the Westâ€™s â€œfeebleâ€ reaction.
â€œGod willing, the West will accept our position since Iranâ€™s political power in the world is very great and in certain regions unrivalled. We need the world but we have shown that we can achieve development without themâ€.
â€œThe British asked us in New York not to bring up this matter. This shows the West is very susceptible to blows and more feeble than it pretendsâ€, the hard-line President said, referring to meetings he had with British officials at the United Nations in September.
Ahmadinejad said that contrary to what was being said, his government does not see the nuclear issue as a crisis.
â€œSome people want to make us believe that hell has broken loose. Our enemies are booing us from abroad and they want us to think that something big has happenedâ€.
The hard-line president dismissed speculations of a military strike on Iran.
â€œIf the West was capable of striking a blow at us, it would not inform us in advance. If you see that they are not hitting us, be sure that they are not capable of doing it, and will never be capable of doing itâ€.
â€œThe Islamic Republic understands why the West is fearful of Iranâ€™s nuclear technology, because if the West conceded that Iran has achieved this level of technology, their 27-year-old propaganda about our religious state being incompetent would be utterly undoneâ€, the Revolutionary Guards commander-turned-President said.
â€œThe other fear the West has is that the Iranian nation obtained this technology on its own, and whatever they do, we will rebuild it. This science will not be destroyed in Iran. At any instance that we decide, it will be renewableâ€.
â€œThe West is also worried, because if Iran joins the club of countries that have mastered full nuclear fuel cycle, the West wonâ€™t be able to stop other countriesâ€, he said.
The hard-line president added that the West was â€œvery angryâ€ at Iran, but â€œthat doesnâ€™t bother us. We say that they can take this anger with them to their gravesâ€.
Ahmadinejad said the West was opposed to the very existence of the Islamic Republic. â€œIf this [nuclear] problem is resolved, then they will bring up the issue of human rights. If the human rights issue is resolved, then they will probably bring up the issue of animal rightsâ€.
â€œWe told them that everything has now changedâ€, he said.
â€œAs time goes by, we will continue to move up step by step and we will not back down. When we start the fuel cycle, no doubt, everything will become differentâ€.