President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed that Iran has produced its first batch of uranium enriched to a higher level, saying his country will not be bullied by the West into curtailing its nuclear program a day after the U.S. imposed new sanctions. Ahmadinejad reiterated to hundreds of thousands of cheering Iranians on the anniversary of the 1979 foundation of the Islamic republic that the country was now a “nuclear state.” The massive crowds waved Iranian flags and carried pictures of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic state, and his successor as supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
February 11th is the 31st Anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, the day, which brought Ayatollah Khomeini and clerical rule to power. Police clashed with protesters in several sites around Tehran, firing tear gas to disperse them and paintballs to mark them for arrest. Security forces briefly detained the granddaughter of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the architect of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and her husband, who are both senior pro-reform politicians.
The celebrations were an opportunity for Iran’s clerical regime to tout its power in the face of the opposition movement. The opposition claims that Ahmadinejad’s victory in the June 12 election was fraudulent and that the true winner was pro-reform leader Mir Hossein Mousavi.
Hundreds of thousands marched in the streets against the government. State television showed images of thousands carrying banners marching along the city streets. Ahmadinejad said Iran had produced its first batch of 20 per cent enriched uranium, enriching uranium produces fuel for a nuclear power plants but can also be used to create material for atomic weapons.
The Islamic Republic does not recognize Israel, which it refers to as the Zionist regime. Israel sees Iran’s nuclear program as an existential threat and has not ruled out military action if diplomacy fails. Ahmadinejad, who has often predicted the imminent demise of the Jewish state, said Iran would remain on the side of regional nations including Syria, Lebanon and Palestine.
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