Iran Should Get Prepared for Further Sanctions

Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, whose country is involved in talks on the dispute, said Iran must know the world's patience was "not endless".

Iran, he said, must fulfil its international commitments.

Western powers say Tehran is trying to develop nuclear arms while Iran says it needs nuclear energy for its economy.

The head of Iran's nuclear programme, Ali Akbar Salehi, accused the West of provoking his country into launching the plan to build 10 new plants.

It is clear that if Iran rejects the outstretched hand of the international community, it must expect further sanctions

However, Iran's parliamentary speaker, Ali Larijani, said he believed that a diplomatic solution was still possible , BBC News reports .

In the meantime, Iran’s nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, said that the announcement of a vast new enrichment construction programme was meant as direct retaliation for its censure at the United Nations body, which also ordered it to cease construction work at Fordo. His remarks were to be the opening salvo in a hail of official invective against the atomic watchdog, ordinarily reserved for Western adversaries.

Manouchehr Mottaki, the Iranian Foreign Minister, accused the IAEA of implementing “the law of the jungle” by passing the resolution calling on Iran once again to halt enrichment. "This is an act of bullying,” Mr Mottaki told a joint press conference with Sergie Shmatko, the visiting Russian Energy Minister. “Today, we call it the law of the jungle. Such measures will destroy the very foundation of the UN Security Council and the IAEA.”

Iran has been ordered five times by the UN Security Council to suspend enrichment until it has satisfactorily answered questions about a suspected nuclear weapons programme.

Mr Mottaki said that enriching uranium was Iran’s right as it has been a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty for close to four decades. Ali Larijani, the influential conservative parliament speaker, went further, questioning Iran’s continued membership of the protocol, raising fears that it may be preparing to withdraw as North Korea did shortly before developing a bomb, Times Online reports.

Meanwhile, Russia plans to start up Iran's first nuclear power station in March 2010 to coincide with the Iranian New Year.

The sources, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation, both said that Russia had ordered that the plant be ready for operation by the holiday which falls in the second half of March.

"We have been given the task of launching the plant by Iranian New Year," said one of the sources. "There is still a lot of work to do."

The second source added that testing at the plant was going well.

Russia is "seriously concerned" by the Iranian statement, a source in the Foreign Ministry was quoted as saying by local news agencies.

Russia has so far refused to publicly support calls by the United States for the threat of sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, Reuters reports.

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