July 23, 2007 Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 377

Iran Determined to Continue Nuclear Program Despite International Pressures

July 23, 2007 | By A. Savyon and Yossi Mansharof*
Iran | Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 377


Iran is continuing to invest every effort in developing its nuclear program, despite the expiration, on May 24, 2007, of the ultimatum set in Security Council Resolution 1747. As Iranian officials declare at every opportunity, Iran refuses to suspend its nuclear activities, and on the contrary, is expanding its uranium enrichment efforts.

In a June 4, 2007 speech on the occasion of the anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic regime in Iran, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei compared Iran's efforts to develop nuclear technology to the struggles of Khomeini, whose steadfastness, he said, had been rewarded by God. Khamenei added that "it is not the custom of the free and independent Iranian people to plead with the bullying powers [i.e. the West] and ask them for permission to obtain nuclear energy and the rest of its rights... The Iranian people will obtain all its rights through clear-headed steadfastness..."[i]

In light of the possible understanding between Russia and the U.S. regarding the joint operation of the radar station in Qabala, Azerbaijan, and Russia's inclination to support the Security Council's demand that Iran suspend uranium enrichment, Khamenei emphasized that Iran had its own independent position on the nuclear issue, and did not plan to rely on anyone's support - neither the West's nor Russia's:[ii] "When there were two superpowers in the world [namely the U.S. and the U.S.S.R], Iran stood fast and [coined] the slogan 'No to the East and No to the West.' Today, Iran is once again withstanding all pressures, and it will continue to stand fast, since the only way to reach the pinnacle of advancement is by enduring hardships..."[iii] In a June 19, 2007 speech to officers and officials from the Revolutionary Guards, Iranian Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Larijani said, "In my recent talks with [E.U. representatives], I told them that, since Iran can trust neither the East nor the West, and cannot believe [either of them], it must be independent in [developing] its nuclear [capabilities]."[iv]

On June 26, 2007, the Iranian government imposed a monthly ration of 100 liters of fuel per private vehicle, for a period of four months, in an attempt to reduce Iran's fuel consumption.[v] This step was taken in anticipation of further sanctions by the Security Council, which are expected to include limitations on Iran's import and export of fuel.[vi] Despite the riots that broke out in Tehran and in other large cities in response to the rationing,[vii] Khamenei declared: "The present conditions in Iran are excellent... The decision to ration gasoline was one of the government's courageous steps. We must continue to implement it, while examining all its aspects..." [viii] In early July 2007, Ahmadinejad announced a plan to ration electricity as well."[ix]

Iran's next declared goal in the area of uranium enrichment is the activation of an additional 1,400 centrifuges in the Natanz enrichment facility, which is already operating 1,600 centrifuges.[x] The deputy chairman of Iran's Nuclear Energy Organization said that Iran was working to achieve, within the next few years, independent capabilities both in the area of uranium enrichment - in order to achieve a nuclear fuel cycle – and in terms of building and operating small nuclear reactors with a capacity of 360 megawatts.

A report submitted by IAEA Chairman Muhammad Al-Baredei to the Security Council on May 23, 2007 stated that Iran is already operating 1,312 centrifuges, and is continuing its enrichment activities full force. After the publication of the report, Al-Baredei said that there is no choice but to accept Iran as a nuclear country, and to admit that that the sanctions are ineffective. Therefore, he added, Iran should be allowed to carry out a limited enrichment program under supervision.[xi] On July 11, 2007, Ahmadinejad denied Al-Baredei's claim that the enrichment activities in Natanz had recently slowed down, saying, "The installation of the centrifuges is currently underway, and [the work] can be quicker one week and slower the next... Iran will not relinquish its right [to nuclear technology]... and no one should expect the Iranian people to give up this right and to stop the enrichment process..."[xii]

In talks with an IAEA delegation that visited Iran in mid July 2007, it was agreed that Iran would allow IAEA monitors to visit the heavy water plant in Arak until the end of July 2007, and that contacts with the IAEA would continue over the next two months.[xiii] An analytical article published July 15, 2007 in the daily Kayhan, affiliated with Khamenei, explained Iran's nuclear strategy thus: "... Every time the West will want to disproportionately stress the military aspects of Iran's nuclear dossier - in the Security Council or anywhere else – Iran will accelerate [the development] of its nuclear program, and the West will be helpless in the face of Iran's vast influence in the Middle East. Conversely, whenever they stress the technical or legal aspects of Iran's [nuclear] dossier, Iran will see to it that the path to reasonable and diplomatic [handling of the crisis] becomes shorter..."[xiv]

Khamenei's senior advisor Ali Velayati hinted that, like many other countries - including some which were subjected to intensive pressures in order to prevent them from obtaining nuclear weapons - Iran would advance its nuclear program in secret. At the same time, Iranian security sources threatened that, in the case of a Western military strike against it, Iran would attack the Gulf states and American targets in the Middle East, and would also open its borders to Al-Qaeda and other guerrilla groups from Afghanistan, allowing them to pass through Iran to the Middle East.

On June 16, 2007, an Iranian official told the pro-Syrian Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, affiliated with Hizbullah, "The U.S. and Israel know that some 350 nuclear warheads disappeared from the former Soviet Union with its disintegration in the early 90s, and to this day, no one knows what has become of them. They suspect that some of these warheads were smuggled to Iran and to other countries."[xv]

This document will review and analyze the statements made by Iranian officials and media regarding Iran's determination to advance its nuclear program and regarding the possibility of developing nuclear technology in secret, as well as threats about Iran's response in case of a possible Western military attack.

1. Iran Determined to Continue Nuclear Program

Ahmadinejad: Iran Aspires to Build 20 Nuclear Plants With 50,000 Centrifuges Each

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, like other senior spokesmen of the Iranian regime, expressed Iran's determination to advance its nuclear program despite the crisis. In a June 15, 2007 speech during a visit to Qom, he stated that "50,000 centrifuges are sufficient for only one [nuclear] plant, and Iran needs 20 plants all over the country."[xvi] He added that, if the Western countries talk to Iran in a belligerent tone, they will be sorry, and that "the West is not able to withstand Iran's military forces and weapons."[xvii] In another speech given at Khomeini's tomb on the anniversary of his death, on June 3, 2007, Ahmadinejad said: "In the nuclear program we now have passed the vulnerable point, and the enemies of the Iranian people cannot harm us in this area or stop us in our path."[xviii] He called on the West "not to stand in the way of the Iranian people, which is advancing in nuclear technology every day,"[xix] and added that "Iran is like a lion lying quietly in the corner, and I advise [the West] not to play with the lion's tail."[xx]

In speeches during a visit to Isfahan, Ahmadinejad emphasized that Iran will not succumb to international pressures, and will continue its nuclear program despite the sanctions. On May 24, 2007, the expiration date of the ultimatum issued to Iran by the Security Council, he said, "For the last 18 months or so, the forces of corruption [i.e. the West] have been trying to hold back the Iranian people by means of threats, political pressures and sanctions. But, as we saw, they were unable to overcome the determination of the steel ranks of the [Iranian] people, and they tasted bitter defeat after bitter defeat. They must... accept that the Iranian people has nuclear technology on an industrial [scale], and that it will never retreat on this path, not even by one single step... We have almost reached the end of the path where we can take complete advantage of all nuclear capabilities. We are very near the summit [of] nuclear [technology]... The government will develop nuclear technology and the nuclear fuel cycle day by day until they reach their full [potential]... We will soon witness further great victories in the global arena."[xxi]

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki stated that Iran even aspires to become an exporter nuclear fuel, and said that "producing nuclear fuel is our essential goal, for we aim to supply some of the nuclear fuel required by nuclear plants around the world."[xxii]

President Ahmadinejad: Iran Unimpressed by Threats of Additional Sanctions

In his speeches in the last few months, Ahmadinejad stressed that Iran had no intention of complying with the Security Council demand to suspend uranium enrichment. He also downplayed the possible effects of the sanctions on Iran's nuclear program, and scoffed at the efforts of the 5+1 to impose further sanctions on Iran. During a visit to Kerman province in early May 2007, he said: "This [nuclear] technology was obtained through the efforts of the Iranian people, who will defend this precious pearl and preserve it at any cost."[xxiii] Making light of the sanctions, he said to the West, "[You can] pass more and more sanctions resolutions, until you get tired [of it]."[xxiv] He added that the West "is done for. Like a battery about to run out, they muster the remainder of their power but God willing, nothing will happen. We've passed that. Wait one month, two months, three months, and with the grace of God, we will pass that..."[xxv]

Ahmadinejad also scoffed at the sanctions in a recent speech in Semnan province, saying to the West, "Even if you issue hundreds of tattered papers [like the sanctions resolution], the Iranian people will not pay them the slightest heed."[xxvi]

During a visit to Isfahan in late May 2007, Ahmadinejad also said that "the West has been imposing sanctions on Iran for some 28 years, trying to enslave it. But today I tell them loud and clear that they are gravely mistaken, since the Iranian people will never realize their dream. [The West] will take this dream to its grave."[xxvii]

How Many Centrifuges Are Already Operating

In a June 22, 2007 speech, Iranian Interior Minister Mostafa Pour Mohammadi said that "Iran [already] had 3,000 operating centrifuges, over 100 kilograms of enriched uranium in storage, and over 150 tons of raw material for [the production of] UF6, which it has prepared and placed in storage."[xxviii] This statement was promptly denied by the Iranian interior ministry.

On the other hand, Abd Reza Rahmani-Fazli, vice-secretary of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council, said at a Basij conference on May 18, 2007 that Iran is now operating 1,600 centrifuges. "We have succeeded in neutralizing [the effect of the] sanctions, and Iran is now close to [operating] 3,000 centrifuges... 1,600 of the 3,000 are already operating [in the Natanz nuclear facility]..."[xxix]

This claim was repeated in a May 21, 2007 article titled "Undeniable Progress" in the weekly Sobh-e Sadeq, the mouthpiece of Khamenei circulated among the Revolutionary Guards. The article stated that engineers are currently installing 1,400 additional centrifuges in Natanz, which already has 1,600 working centrifuges.[xxx]

A June 10, 2007 editorial by Parviz Esmaili, editor of the Mehr news agency and of the Iranian foreign ministry's daily, Tehran Times, stated that Iran was currently operating about 1,640 centrifuges: "...Technically speaking, Iran is [now] in a completely different situation than it was when [Security Council] Resolution 1747 was issued... In the area of uranium enrichment, it has completed the stage of research and laboratory [experiments], and with the activation of 10 cascades and the successful injection of UF6, it has entered the industrial phase..."[xxxi]

Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Deputy Director: Iran Has Manufactured 280 Tons of UF6

In a May 6, 2007 speech at Tarbiat-e Moallem University in Tehran, Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Deputy Director Mohammad Saeedi said: "For the next 7 or 8 years, Iran will be among the countries building nuclear facilities on a small scale. According to the 2004 Geneva [agreement], the West was supposed to do us a favor and allow us to [set up] one UF6 production line at the Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) in Isfahan, [but nothing more than that]. Three years ago, we held talks with the IAEA for nine months over [the right to] manufacture a single ton of UF6. But today we have 280 of this strategically [important] material..."[xxxii]

In his speech at a forum on Iran's foreign policy and nuclear dossier at Mashhad Medical School, Saeedi declared: "With the help of its young experts, Iran has reached a crucial point in [the achievement of] nuclear technology – it has attained a nuclear [fuel] cycle, which is the point of no return... A country that has a nuclear fuel cycle is recognized as possessing nuclear technology... Eventually, we must [operate] the reactor in Bushehr independently... Within the next 8 or 9 years, we will build our first 360-megawatt nuclear reactor, 'right here] in Iran, using Iranian know-how and capabilities."[xxxiii]

In a speech in Arak, Saeedi stated that Iran has already started to build this reactor,[xxxiv] and added that "even now, Iran has the capability to produce 20,000 megawatts [using] the nuclear fuel [at its disposal], and within the next decade, it will become one of the world's most talked about countries in terms of independent [manufacture] of nuclear fuel."[xxxv]

Head of Iran's Academy for Nuclear Sciences: Iran Has Manufactured 290 of UF6

The head of Iran's Academy for Nuclear Sciences and deputy of research and technology in the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, Mohammad Ghannadi Maragheh, wrote in an article titled "How We Managed to Achieve Nuclear Technology," posted May 19, 2007 on the Revolutionary Guards website Basirat:

"In April 2004, my students and I stayed at the Isfahan UCF and did not delay our work at all, out of our desire to give the Iranian people a real [nuclear] celebration... We wanted to produce 1,200 [kilograms] of yellow cake, and we [eventually] produced 1,230 kilograms... Once, our [only] wish was to produce [even] a single gram of yellow cake. Now we have 160 tons of UF6, and we are seventh [country] in the world to produce UF6..."[xxxvi]

Revolutionary Guards Theoretician: America Will Have to Accept the Reality of a Nuclear Iran

In a lecture in late May 2007 at Gilan University, Dr. Hassan Abbasi, a theoretician of Revolutionary Guards intelligence, and head of the Revolutionary Guards' Center for Doctrinaire Affairs of National Security, said that the U.S. would eventually be forced to accept Iran's status as a nuclear country, since it has completed the process of attaining nuclear capabilities: "Iran and America," he said, "are like two cars heading towards one another at great speed. Eventually, one of them will have to back down and [swerve]... During the recent period [of confrontation], Iran has been taking a [major] step every three months. First it activated the UCF in Isfahan and then the [Uranium Enrichment] Facility in Natanz. [Finally, it activated] the heavy water [plant] in Arak, and thus crossed the nuclear threshold..."[xxxvii]

Resalat: Al-Baredei's Statement – the Direct Result of Our Steadfastness

A May 24, 2007 editorial in the conservative daily Resalat declared that the statement made by IAEA Chairman Muhammad Al-Baredei – namely that the world must come to terms with Iran's status as a nuclear power – reflects Iran's success in the nuclear sphere and reduces the Western pressure on Iran.

"...Al-Baredei's recent statements reveal no trace or sign of the West's [purported] freedom of action. His statements only reveal one truth, namely that Iran is strong. His statements recognize the reality [of Iran's nuclearization, even though] it flies in the face of the international aspirations of America and Europe. America, Britain, France and Germany paid a steep price in order to keep the pressure on Iran, while making various promises to Beijing and Moscow behind the scenes in attempt to force them to join [their ranks]... But despite its best efforts, the West was unable to maintain constant pressure on Iran... The publication of Al-Baredei's recent speech automatically decreased the pressures [exerted on Iran] by the 5+1, as well as the threat posed to Iran by America... Al-Baredei's recent statements are the direct result of the determined stance of the Iranian government and people, who insisted on their undeniable right to nuclear [technology], and who openly revealed the Iranian scientists' efforts to obtain a nuclear fuel cycle on an industrial scale."[xxxviii]

2. The Option of Developing the Nuclear Program in Secret

Khamenei's Advisor: Various Countries Around the World Achieved Nuclear Energy in Secret

In a May 2, 2007 interview with the conservative daily Jomhouri-ye Eslami, affiliated with the religious seminaries of Qom, Ali Akbar Velayati, a member of the Iranian Foreign Relations Steering Council[xxxix] and foreign affairs advisor to Khamenei, said that Iran must work in secret in order to bypass the Western opposition to its nuclear program.

"...All countries in the world aspire to achieve nuclear energy. When the Americans wanted to achieve nuclear energy, they did so in total secrecy. Russia, in Stalin's era, likewise achieved nuclear energy clandestinely, [as did] the French... [who] were subjected to pressures by Russia and America. India and Pakistan, which were likewise [subjected to] heavy pressures, achieved nuclear energy in the same fashion."[xl]

Kayhan: Iran Will Expand its Activities in Secret Nuclear Facilities

A June 20, 2007 editorial titled "The Last Step" in Kayhan, said: "...Iran has over 1,000 operating centrifuges in Natanz, and it has reduced the IAEA's access to its nuclear facilities to the absolute minimum. With the West rendered almost completely blind and deaf to [what is happening in] its nuclear facilities, Iran is making considerable progress. The IAEA now confirms that Iran has entered the industrial phase in uranium enrichment. In addition, it is no longer complying with the 1995 amendment to the safeguards clause. This means that, from this moment onward, the IAEA will no longer know what nuclear facilities Iran [is building] or expanding until 180 days prior to their activation..."[xli]

Sobh-e Sadeq: "The West Can Expect an [Even] Bigger Shock From Iran"

On April 16, 2007, Sobh-e Sadeq published an editorial titled "A Nuclear Fuel Cycle on an Industrial [Scale] – Iran's Practical Answer to Resolution 1747," which analyzed the current state of Iran's nuclear program. The editorial emphasized that, in light of Ahmadinejad's announcement that Iran was producing nuclear fuel on an industrial scale, Iran could shift its nuclear program to a military track at any time, should the leaders of the regime wish to do so. The article also stated that, due to the Western pressures, Iran would develop its nuclear program in secret. [xlii] Following are excerpts:

"On February 9, 2002, former president Mohammad Khatami declared... that 'Iran had obtained new uranium enrichment technology.' The same year, Iran's nuclear experts succeeded in enriching uranium at the rate of 2.1% using three centrifuges at the enrichment facility at Natanz. On April 20, 2006, Ahmadinejad officially declared, at the ceremony held on National Nuclear Technology Day... that Iran had achieved 3.8% enrichment, and subsequently, 4.8% enrichment, after it had installed and activated a cascade of 164 centrifuges, and injected it with UF6 gas.

"On April 9, 2007, Iran took the third step, and at the ceremony at the Natanz nuclear facility, Ahmadinejad announced that Iran had succeeded in obtaining technology for the production of nuclear fuel on an industrial [scale, thereby] joining the group of countries that produce nuclear fuel on an industrial [scale]... According to some reporters, Iran actually succeeded in obtaining technology for the production of nuclear fuel by launching 1,500 centrifuges and injecting them with [UF6] gas. According to other sources, however, Iran has installed and activated 3,000 centrifuges, has injected them with UF6 gas, and is [now] waiting for the enriched product. [Moreover] it has even concomitantly installed 3,000 additional centrifuges, which are about to be activated and injected with UF6 gas...

"According to experts inside and outside Iran, there is no significant difference from the industrial standpoint between the former and the latter versions, since, technologically speaking, once a country has managed to install, launch and inject with UF6 gas 1,500 centrifuges, it is only a matter of time before it [raise that number] to 3,000... or, for that matter, to 30,000.

"Ahmadinejad instructed Iranian Nuclear Energy Organization Head [Gholam-Reza Aghazadeh] to prepare the ground as quickly as possible for initial steps in the production of nuclear fuel on an industrial scale and for the installation of 3,000 centrifuges. According to reports of IAEA supervisors, through this instruction, Iran commenced a great leap towards nuclear development; Iran's nuclear locomotive released its brakes, as it were, and is advancing rapidly en route to development and expansion...

"The development of April 9, 2007 at Natanz [i.e. Ahmadinejad's announcement] carried numerous implications and messages for the Western [countries]. On that day Iran announced to the Western world that the Western strategy of generating long-term problems for, and putting increasing pressure on, [Iran] not only fails to create obstacles in the way of the Iranian people's nuclear development but [actually] strengthens its determination to reach as quickly as possible the summits of power by obtaining strategic technologies. Another message conveyed by the April 9 [announcement] was that, should the West resort to illegal actions, [then] Iran is prepared to use illegal measures of its own... The important [point] is that, at present, Iran has all the necessary means to realize any wish.

"Iran's actions in the past months convey a message to the West, whereby, in parallel to the West's threatening and illegal actions, Iran will expedite its nuclear development and at the same time limit the access of IAEA monitors to its nuclear installations. These two simultaneous [courses of] action show that, in the present threatening and unjust circumstances, Iran is determined to pursue a strategy of obfuscation, and to increasingly blind the IAEA, and perhaps also the other Western intelligence agencies, to [what is happening] in its nuclear facilities...

"In its April 9 response to the Security Council's repeated sanctions resolutions, Iran conveyed the message that, though its hands are tied in the Security Council, [the achievements of] its soldiers in its sensitive facilities, such as Natanz, demonstrate that it has complete freedom of action within its own nuclear facilities. [Therefore,] the West can expect an [even] bigger shock from Iran. Whether it likes it or not, the West must face the fact that Iran has many powerful instruments, and the way it uses them depends on [the West's] conduct in its dealings with Iran. It is possible that the game has only begun."[xliii]

Iran Threatens: A U.S. Military Strike Will Ignite the Entire Middle East

In parallel to the statements expressing Iran's determination to continue its nuclear program, and in response to the possibility of a Western military strike, Iranian security sources have threatened that such a strike would have dire consequences: America's allies in the Gulf would be attacked; Iran would allow terrorists from Al-Qaeda and other organizations free passage across its borders, thus giving them access to the entire Middle East; U.S. military bases in the region would be targeted; and Iran would cause oil prices to rise to $250 a barrel, which would be "a death blow" to the American and European economies.

The American military magazine Defense News recently published an interview with former Iranian defense minister Ali Shamkhani, presently the head of Iran's Strategic Defense Research Center, security advisor to Khamenei and member of Iran's Foreign Relations Steering Council. Shamkhani threatened that, in the case of a U.S. strike against its nuclear facilities, Iran would retaliate with a devastating missile attack on the Gulf states:

"…Special targets would include Arabian Gulf states that help Washington to justify a strike… Allegations by some Arab gulf states that the Iranian nuclear program poses an environmental threat to the area and that it would spark a nuclear arms race are aimed at helping the U.S. establish legitimacy for its anticipated aggression against Iran… Tehran has blocked U.S. moves in many parts of the region, boosting Iran’s regional influence, especially in relatively unstable Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon and the occupied Palestinian territories… [so] Iran today is in control of about 70 percent of the U.S. game in the region."[xliv]

Another senior Iranian defense source told Defense News that "Tehran would also allow Al-Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist groups free passage across its borders from Afghanistan and Asia into the Middle East... Iran will open a freeway for terrorists from Afghanistan all the way to Lebanon, enabling [them] to strike in almost every country in the Middle East."[xlv]

Iranian Deputy Interior Minister and former Revolutionary Guards commander Mohammad-Baqer Zolqadr spoke in a similar vein: "In the last 28 years, Iran has made a laughingstock of America's power and hegemony, and today, all the American bases in the region are within the range of Iran's medium-range missiles. [Thus], if America launches a strike against Iran, its interests in the region will be in danger. If there is the slightest threat to the security of the region, to the Strait of Hormuz and to the Persian Gulf, the prices of oil will immediately rise to $250 a barrel. This would be a death-blow to the economies and to the security of Europe and America... The U.S. might initiate a wicked move, but the aftermath and consequences [of this move] will not be in its hands."[xlvi]

*A. Savyon is Director of MEMRI's Iranian Media Project; Y. Mansharof is a Research Fellow at MEMRI.

[i] IRNA, June 4, 2007.

[ii] See MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 370, "The Crisis in Iranian-Russian Relations over Iran's Nuclear Project(2)," July 12, 2007, The Crisis in Iranian-Russian Relations over Iran's Nuclear Project (2); Iranian Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Larijani stated that the intention of the U.S. to place missiles in Europe in defense against Iran's ballistic missiles in "the joke of the century," since "Iran's missiles cannot reach Europe," which is "Iran's most important economic partner." IRNA (Iran), June 4, 2007.

[iii] Kayhan (Iran), June 11, 2007.

[iv] Rooz (Iran), June 20, 2007.

[v] Aftab-e Yazd, (Iran) June 27, 2007. On July 9, 2007, Iranian Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh announced that the government intends to extend the rationing period to six months. ISNA (Iran), July 9, 2007.

[vi] Hamid-Reza Haji-Babai, member of the Parliamentary Committee for National Security and Foreign Policy, stated that the rationing was meant to reduce Iran's fuel import to a minimum, and thus thwart America's plan to harm Iran by preventing it from importing fuel. Rooz (Iran), July 9, 2007.

[vii] The riots, which included the torching of gasoline pumps and vandalizing of public facilities, led to the arrest of some 80 individuals. There are also unconfirmed reports that a number of people have been killed. Rooz, June 28, 2007.

[viii] Aftab, June 30, 2007. On July 11, 2007, the reformist daily Rooz reported that the people of Khuzestan province had been requested by the authorities to limit their electricity consumption during the peak hours between 9:00 and 10:00 PM, and that, at present, it is not clear whether this instruction will be extended to other provinces of Iran as well.

[ix] Etemad-e Meli, July 3, 2007. Ahmadinejad's office denied this report, and stated that his intention was merely "to emphasize the need to reduce [Iran's] electricity expenses." IRNA, July 3, 2007.

[x] Iranian Interior Minister Mostafa Pour Mohammadi said in a speech that Iran has already achieved this goal, and was already operating 3,000 centrifuges in Natanz – a statement that was promptly denied by the Iranian government (see below).

[xi] A June 11 article in the Iranian weekly Sobh-e Sadeq, the mouthpiece of Khamenei, circulated among the Revolutionary Guards, declared that these statements by Al-Baredei are the clearest example of capitulation to Iran's nuclear program.

[xii] ISNA (Iran), July 11, 2007. Iran's representative in the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltaniyeh, likewise denied Al-Baredei's claim, saying, "Iran is continuing its enrichment activities as before." Jomhouri-ye Eslami (Iran), July 14, 2007.

[xiii] Aftab (Iran), July 14, 2007.

[xiv] Kayhan (Iran), July 15, 2007.

[xv] Al-Akhbar, June 16, 2007.

[xvi] Kayhan (Iran), June 16, 2007; Baztab (Iran), June 15, 2007.

[xvii] Aftab, Iran, June 15, 2007.

[xviii] ISNA (Iran), June 4, 2007.

[xix] IRNA (Iran), June 4, 2007.

[xx] Aftab (Iran) June 5, 2007.

[xxi] Aftab (Iran),May 24, 2007.

[xxii] Jomhouri-ye Eslami (Iran), May 27, 2007. On Iran's aspirations to assist Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states in developing nuclear technology, see statements by Iran's former deputy foreign minister Mohammad Javad Larijani, MEMRI-TV Clip No. 1456,

[xxiii] ISNA (Iran), May 3, 2007.

[xxiv] Tehran Times, May 6, 2007. For another Ahmadinejad speech from late May 2007, in which he spoke of the ineffectiveness of the sanctions, see MEMRI-TV Clip No. 1485,

[xxv] Channel One, Iranian TV, May 24, 2007. For further excerpts from the speech, see MEMRI-TV Clip No. 1460,

[xxvi] Sharq (Iran), June 14, 2007.

[xxvii] Kayhan (Iran), May, 28, 2007.

[xxviii] Aftab (Iran), June 22, 2007; ISNA (Iran), June 22, 2007; Rooz (Iran), June 28, 2007.

[xxix] ISNA, May 18, 2007. Unlike Rahmani-Fazli, Iran's Atomic Energy Organization Director Gholam Reza Aghazadeh refused to disclose the number of centrifuges currently operating in Natanz, but stressed that the enrichment operations were going well, and that Iran ultimately planned to install and operate at least 50,000 centrifuges. ISNA (Iran), May 20, 2007.

[xxx] Sobh-e Sadeq (Iran), May 21, 2007.

[xxxi] Mehr (Iran), June 10, 2007.

[xxxii] Kayhan (Iran), May 8, 2007.

[xxxiii] Jomhouri-ye Eslami (Iran), May 7, 2007.

[xxxiv] Tehran Times (Iran), May 20, 2007.

[xxxv] ISNA (Iran), May 19, 2007.

[xxxvi] Basirat, May 19, 2007.

[xxxvii] Rooz (Iran), May 26, 2007.

[xxxviii] Resalat (Iran), May 24, 2007.

[xxxix] On the council, see MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 283, "Power Struggle in Iran – Part III: Iran Establishes New Foreign Relations Steering Council," June 29, 2006, Terror in America (14): Syria's position: Define Terrorism Not Fight It..

[xl] Jomhouri-ye Eslami, May 2, 2007. In a July 10, 2007 interview in Jomhouri-ye Eslami, Velayati again stressed that various countries, most notably Russia and the U.S., had developed nuclear technology in secret.

On June 14, 2007, the Iranian representative in the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltaniyeh, threatened that further sanctions would cause Iran to limit its cooperation with the IAEA even further. Fars (Iran), June 14, 2007. For information on clandestine Iranian nuclear activity, see MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 342 "Editor of Kayhan: ‘A Country That Has... Uranium Enrichment Is Only One Step Away from Producing Nuclear Weapons; This Step Is Not a Scientific or a Technical [One] – But a Matter of Political Decision,’" April 13, 2007, Russian Parliamentary Chairman for International Affairs: 'We Will Not Accept Military Force Against Iraq'.

[xli] Kayhan (Iran), June 20, 2007.

[xlii] For Ahmadinejad's announcement and statements by other senior Iranian officials, see MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 342 "Editor of Kayhan: 'A Country That Has... Uranium Enrichment Is Only One Step Away from Producing Nuclear Weapons; This Step Is Not a Scientific or a Technical [One] – But a Matter of Political Decision,'" April 13, 2007, Russian Parliamentary Chairman for International Affairs: 'We Will Not Accept Military Force Against Iraq'.

[xliii] Sobh-e Sadeq (Iran), April 16, 2007.

[xliv] Defense News, June 4, 2007.

[xlv] Defense News, June 4, 2007. In a June 6, 2007 interview on Iranian TV, Revolutionary Guards commander Yahya Rahim Safavi stated that, with an emergency call-up of Basij troops that would take only 48 hours, Iran could recruit an army of 12 million soldiers to confront the U.S. military. See MEMRI-TV Clip No. 1498,

[xlvi] Mehr (Iran), June 9, 2007. Iran's OPEC representative Hossein Kazempour Ardebili said that, as long as America keeps stating that the option of a military strike against Iran exists, Iran will not forget the option of [manipulating] oil [prices]. Sharq (Iran), June 19, 2007.

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