TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday his country expects its uranium enrichment program to be ready by February to meet Iran’s nuclear fuel needs, the national news service IRNA reported.
“We will commission some 3,000 centrifuges by this year end. We are determined to master fuel cycle, and commission some 60,000 centrifuges to meet our demands,” the president said at a news conference closed to foreign reporters.
“Today the Iranian nation possesses the full nuclear fuel cycle and time is completely running in our favor in terms of diplomacy.”
Ahmadinejad said Iran hopes to celebrate its nuclear success during the “Ten-Day Dawn” festivities at the beginning of February, which mark the country’s victory in the Islamic Revolution, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
“This year’s Ten-Day Dawn period will mark the Iranian nation’s success in mastering fuel cycle as well as its achievements in other fields,” the president said.
A report by the International Atomic Energy Agency released Tuesday said agency experts have found unexplained plutonium and enriched uranium traces in a nuclear waste facility in Iran and have asked Tehran for an explanation, according to wire service reports.
Ahmadinejad said he is willing to have a “dialogue” with the U.S. government, but only if the United States has a respectful attitude toward Iran.
“If they fix their behavior toward us, we will have a dialogue with them because that’s a principle of our foreign policy. But you know, they have their own way of thinking. They really think they own the world, they always sort of look down upon you,” the president said.
During his talk, Ahmadinejad said recent election results in the United States marked the failure of U.S. policies, based on imposition of its will on others, support for bullying, plunder, unilateralism and humiliating other governments.
Ahmadinejad said the peaceful use of nuclear energy has been the most important issue facing the country since he took office just over a year ago, noting that powerful nations, presumably including the United States, have stood against Iran to try and prevent it from attaining its rights.
He has repeatedly said uranium enrichment is his country’s right and will not be abandoned, despite Western fears that Iran’s goal is to build nuclear weapons. The president said the uranium is for civilian projects.
Tehran ignored an August 31 U.N. Security Council deadline demanding it halt its nuclear program.
By early October, Iran had resumed its uranium enrichment program by building a second cascade of centrifuges and injecting gas into the system, IRNA had said.
But Tuesday, Ahmadinejad said, “Iran is a country committed to nuclear regulations.” He contended that Iran has been cooperative with relevant institutions.
After hearing media reports on Ahmadinejad’s comments, U.S. National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe responded, “Iran needs to live up to its obligations to the IAEA, the U.N. Security Council and the whole international community, which is united in its desire to see Iran stop all enrichment activities.”
‘A message to the American people’
Ahmadinejad said Tuesday that Iran is ready for better relations with other countries — with one exception.
“We are after positive interaction with the whole world, except a state which we consider its foundation as wrong and do not attach any value to its legitimacy,” he said, referring to Israel.
Ahmadinejad also said Tuesday he has something to tell the American people.
“I will soon send a message to the American people. The message is in the stage of preparation,” he said. Without elaborating, he said his message would be in response to U.S. government statements.