Cleric warns against obstructing Iran nuke

June 11, 2004 at 12:11 PM

TEHRAN, June 11 (UPI) -- One of Iran's most influential ruling clerics said Iran will not give up its right to use peaceful nuclear technology.

"No official in a country like Iran will dare or give himself the right to deprive his people from the benefits of such an important science and great technology, which is a legitimate right," Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said during a Friday sermon.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran will not yield to blackmail and will not make any concessions on that issue," the Iranian News Agency, IRNA, quoted him as saying.

He said the draft resolution prepared by France, Germany and Britain and the statement by the G8 countries rebuking Iran over its nuclear program "indicate that Europe and the United States agreed on one point and that is to deprive Iran of peaceful nuclear technology."

"If European countries and America decide to deprive Iran of this technology they will regret it for sure," he warned.

Rafsanjani, chairman of the "Assembly to Discern the Interests of the State," is the Islamic Republic's number two man after Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

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