Ahmadinejad says Iran does not need nukes



Agence France Presse

Published — Monday 15 April 2013

Last update 15 April 2013 10:00 pm

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

COTONOU, Benin: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday defended his country’s controversial nuclear program while on a tour of west Africa, calling it peaceful and arguing that Tehran has no use for an atomic bomb.
Speaking during a visit to Benin, the first stop on a three-nation tour, Ahmadinejad called nuclear energy a “divine gift” providing affordable electricity.
“They accuse Iran, like all nations that seek to rapidly find their way out of the current domination,” the Iranian leader said through an interpreter in a speech at a Benin university.
“We don’t need an atomic bomb. ... And besides, it is not atomic bombs that threaten the world, but Western morals and culture declining in values.”
Western powers suspect Tehran of covertly developing the capacity to produce a nuclear bomb.
Iran denies this and says its program is for energy and medical purposes.
On Tuesday, Iran unveiled a new uranium production facility and two mines, only days after talks with world powers on its nuclear program again ended in deadlock.
Ahmadinejad, who arrived in Benin on Sunday night, left Monday afternoon for neighboring Niger, one of the world’s top producers of uranium.
Iran needs uranium for its nuclear program, and Niger has recently criticized a longstanding agreement with France — which gets most of its uranium from the former colony — demanding a bigger share of the profits from uranium ore mining.
Uranium from landlocked Niger is trucked to Benin ports for export, but Benin’s foreign minister has insisted that uranium was not on the agenda for his Benin visit.
Talks in Benin focused particularly on energy, agriculture and education, Benin officials said.
Ahmadinejad will travel to Ghana on Tuesday following his visit to Niger for the final leg of the tour.
Speaking to journalists at the airport before his departure, Ahmadinejad said the uranium mines inaugurated last week in Iran should “be more than enough for the ambitions of my country.”
During his speech at the university, Ahmadinejad condemned what he called colonialist thinking from wealthy nations that exploit poorer countries.
“Colonialist thinking has not yet disappeared,” he said. “Only the method has changed, but the system is still there.”
“To save their economy, they impose war everywhere to cover their failure, the failure of the capitalist system,” said Ahmadinejad, who is due to leave office after June elections.
In Niger, the Iranian president’s visit was being welcomed by those who said the impoverished country should search for new partners in the sale of its uranium.
“We must from now on adhere to policies in our own interests, in selling our uranium to who we want, including Iran,” Nouhou Arzika, a prominent civil society activist in Niger, told AFP.
Niger’s foreign minister visited Tehran in February. The African country is the world’s fourth-largest producer of uranium.
The head of the student union at Niger’s University of Niamey welcomed the Iranian leader’s visit. The union previously organized a protest against French nuclear energy giant Areva.
“We are a sovereign state and will deal with who we want,” Mahamadou Djibo Samaila told reporters.
“Our uranium, our oil, we are going to sell them to who we want.”
Iran’s relations with African countries have not always been smooth.
A diplomatic dispute hurt ties between Iran and Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and largest oil producer, when weapons shipped from Iran were seized at a Lagos port in October 2010.
An alleged Iranian Revolutionary Guard member was accused of being one of the suspects behind the shipment, which Iran said was destined for Gambia, though Banjul denied being the intended recipient. The weapons had been labelled as building materials.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: A small fire broke out on the roof of the Grand Mosque on Monday morning, causing minor injuries to five people, including members of the Civil Defense, one security officer and three workers. The fire broke out at about 2 a.m. and covered an...
JEDDAH: The director general of the Saudi Industrial Property Authority, Saleh Rasheed, has said that Sadeer Industrial City, which is regarded as one of the largest industrial cities in the Kingdom, possesses great capabilities that sets it apart as...
DAMMAM: Cheap and out of date cosmetics are causing serious health problems in the Kingdom, including skin diseases, hair loss and cancer, local doctors say.These products are often manufactured incorrectly or contain harmful fats, the doctors were q...
JEDDAH: Several young Saudis have started filming Jeddah’s historic district using cameras mounted on drones to gather professional 3D footage that can be used to build models and create virtual tours.Bandar Al-Mutlaq, owner of the Arab Foundation, w...
RIYADH: The Saudi capital is fully geared for this year’s Eid Al-Fitr celebrations that include an exciting bouquet of entertainment, heritage, sports, artistic and theatrical events.The annual Muslim festivities being organized here by the Riyadh mu...
JEDDAH: As part of its growing supervisory and investigative status, Riyadh Health Department’s forensics center examined 632 cases over the past eight months involving suspected murder, rape and abuse of women and children.Khaled bin Muhammad Hassan...
RIYADH: The Syrian Expatriates Medical Association (SEMA) expressed its thanks on Monday to Saudi organizations and individuals for donating to the campaign to help Syrians affected by the ongoing conflict.SEMA has 1,300 members in Syria and other co...
RIYADH: Inclusion of the Hail rock art in the UNESCO World Heritage List is proof of the Kingdom’s status and cultural profoundness, said the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) on Monday.Reacting to the announcement of the fou...
JEDDAH: The Yemeni community has asked the Saudi government to extend the rectification process, which ends Tuesday, claiming that there are many thousands still seeking to get proper identification documents to qualify for work visas in the Kingdom....
JEDDAH: The Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs has set up 343 electoral constituencies for the Dec. 12 municipal council elections.This was done on the orders of Abdullatif Al-Sheikh, the minister and head of the General Committee for the Munici...
JEDDAH: Efforts are under way to electronically handle all Haj-related works to achieve speed and accuracy, as well as reduce costs an bring in transparency, Haj Minister Bandar Al-Hajjar has said.Speaking at a workshop in Jeddah on Sunday, Hajjar sa...
JEDDAH: The Board of Trustees of the King Abdullah International Foundation for Charity and Humanitarian Works on Sunday held its third meeting in Jeddah in the presence of Prince Khaled bin Abdullah, the board chairman, and Prince Miteb bin Abdullah...
RIYADH: The Ministry of Health has announced that six people were infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the period from June 28 to July 6.The ministry has now recorded 1,045 cases of MERS since June 2012, with 5...
ALKHOBAR: Patient visitations play an important role in the healing process, provided the well-wishers adopt the right approach by speaking and acting in a manner that the sick person’s morale is lifted. However, any wrong move by the visitor may aff...
MAKKAH: The price of residential land has registered a drastic 30 percent drop due to the slump in the market over the past six months, said an online newspaper.According to real estate dealers, the reason behind the decision was the imposition of 30...

Stay Connected

Facebook