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Iran is unmoved on nuclear program

From the Associated Press

Iran will not give up “a single iota of its nuclear rights,” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Saturday, rebuffing an informal deadline to stop expanding uranium enrichment or face more international sanctions.

Ahmadinejad made the remarks during discussions with Syrian President Bashar Assad, who arrived Saturday in Tehran for a two-day visit, the Iranian president’s official website said.

Assad is in Tehran to discuss Iran’s uranium enrichment program after a request from French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Tehran was given an informal two-week deadline from July 19 by the U.N. Security Council’s five permanent members and Germany, to stop expanding uranium enrichment, at least temporarily, in exchange for their commitment to stop seeking new sanctions.

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Ahmadinejad’s stance signaled a rejection of the deadline as well as failure of Assad’s mission, although his comments indicated he was not ruling out international talks on Iran’s nuclear program.

While stating that the nation would not surrender any of its nuclear rights, he also said that any participation in international talks on the nuclear issue would be aimed at reinforcing those rights.

Syria is Iran’s closest Arab ally -- the two countries have had relations since 1980, when Syria sided with Persian Iran against Arab Iraq in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.


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