Iran Calls World Pressure to End Nuke Program Illegal

Western pressure on Iran to halt its uranium enrichment program has no legal basis and will not prevail, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said Sunday in the wake of a U.N. report that Tehran sees as a major political victory.

"If threats and adventurism are aimed at depriving the Iranian nation of its legal nuclear rights, they will never succeed," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini told reporters.

"I do not see any legal basis for illogical and unrealistic endeavors" against Iran's nuclear program, Hosseini said.

On Thursday, a report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog concluded that Iran has been generally truthful about key aspects of its nuclear history, but warned that its knowledge of Tehran's present atomic work was shrinking.

The International Atomic Energy Agency report also stressed that Tehran continues to defy Security Council resolutions by ignoring its repeated demands to freeze uranium enrichment — a potential pathway to nuclear arms.

Two rounds of limited United Nations sanctions have failed to persuade Iran to halt enrichment, a technology that can be used to produce nuclear fuel to generate electricity or fissile material for a warhead.

After the new IAEA report, Washington called for a new round of U.N. sanctions to press Tehran to stop uranium enrichment.

The U.S. and its allies suspect Iran's nuclear activity is geared at producing an atomic bomb — a charge Tehran denies, saying its program is peaceful and aims at generating electricity.

Iran said earlier this month it had stepped up uranium enrichment by fully running 3,000 centrifuges at its nuclear plant in the central city of Natanz. It would take some 54,000 centrifuges to fuel a reactor.