Ahmadinejad: We'll 'Slap Mouths' of Those Demanding Nuclear Program Halted

Iranian Pres. also says Tehran ready to discuss nuclear project with IAEA, which calls move 'a milestone.'

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday said Tehran would "slap on the mouth" countries demanding it give up its nuclear program, while also stating that Iran is ready to discuss the project with any country.

"The Iranian nation is in favor of talks to resolve the [nuclear] issue with any of you [countries]. We will slap those who want Iran to abandon its right [to nuclear technology] on the mouth," Ahmadinejad said in a televised address in the western city of Hamedan.

Ahmadinejad had earlier ruled out any talks with the West over Iran's disputed nuclear program, saying Iran would only discuss the issue with the UN nuclear watchdog, the IAEA.

For its part, The IAEA confirmed that Iran has agreed to cooperate with the investigation of allegations that it tried to make nuclear arms.

IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming says the agency hopes Iran will provide the necessary clarifications about the allegations in May.

She said Wednesday that an agreement on the issue had been reached during talks in Tehran earlier this week between Iranian officials and IAEA Deputy Director General Olli Heinonen.

IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei said Iran's decision to discuss allegations it tried to make nuclear weapons is "a milestone."

Iran insists its nuclear program is aimed only at producing electricity so that the world's fourth-largest crude exporter can sell more of its oil and gas abroad.

Tehran has failed to convince the West, which accuses the Islamic state of covertly trying to produce nuclear bombs.

The UN Security Council has imposed three rounds of sanctions on Tehran for not halting its sensitive nuclear activities.

Israel has been particularly active in pushing for the international community to act against the program. In recent weeks, Israel has held strategic discussions with France, Germany and the U.K. focusing on Iran's ongoing development of its nuclear program.

Ahmadinejad's comments also came as Jerusalem and Tehran have been engaging in war of words, with Iranian army's deputy chief threatened last week to respond to any military attack from Israel by 'eliminating' it.

Meanwhile, U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown vowed last week to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb, possibly by expanding sanctions.

In his speech, Ahmadinejad said no power in the world "would dare to violate" Iran's rights.

"They [the West] should know that our nation will preserve all its rights with logic and unity," Ahmadinejad said, as thousands of people chanted "nuclear energy is our obvious right."



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