'Iran ready for final nuclear step'
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says the enemies of Iran must know that the Iranian people have taken their decision and will resist until the end.india Updated: Nov 19, 2006 04:04 IST
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Saturday said Iran was ready to take the "final step" in its nuclear programme as world powers remained deadlocked over imposing UN sanctions against Tehran.
"The enemies of the Iranian people must know that the Iranian people have taken their decision and will resist until the end," the semi-official Mehr agency quoted him as saying in a speech in Baneh in Kurdestan province.
"In the nuclear case we are ready to take the final step and I hope that by the end of the year (Iranian year to March 2007) we will be able to hold the great celebration of Iran's nuclear right," he said.
Ahmadinejad, who has made a string of similar comments in recent days, did not specify where the step would take Iran's nuclear programme.
However Iranian officials have repeatedly said that the short-term goal of Iran's nuclear programme is to install some 3,000 centrifuges to enrich uranium at its plant in Natanz by March 2007.
This would in itself represent a massive step from the two cascades of 164 centrifuges apiece it currently has at its Natanz plant to enrich uranium on a research scale.
Ahmadinejad said earlier this week that Iran wanted ultimately to have 60,000 centrifuges working in Natanz, easily enough to enrich uranium to make nuclear fuel on an industrial scale.
"Today we are victorious in nuclear and thanks to God we will accomplish the final step to completely master nuclear energy," he added in a later speech in the town of Saghez.