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Top official says Iran might produce nuclear weapons

Iran Focus | August 26 2006

A top Iranian official warned on Friday that Tehran may develop nuclear weapons as a “preventative measure” against threats posed by the West.

“The patience of the Iranian nation has a limit. If [the West] crosses this limit, our nation, which is very suspicious of the good will of Western countries, will force Majlis to ratify the law for Iran to withdraw from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty”, Mohammad-Reza Bahonar, the deputy speaker of Iran’s Majlis, or Parliament, said on Friday.

“The Iranian nation is facing illogical powers that have nuclear weapons and see no deterrent. If they exert pressure on us it is possible that our nation will ask the government to produce nuclear weapons as a preventative measure”, Bahonar, who is also secretary general of the Islamic Association of Engineers, said following a meeting by the group’s leaders.

“The West must accept Iran as a regional power. They cannot ignore this reality. … Illogical pressures over the nuclear issue must end”, he said. His remarks were reported by the government-run news agency ILNA.

Addressing the West, Bahonar said, “You must fear the day that the Iranian people pour into the streets and demonstrate, calling on the government to produce nuclear weapons to counter the threats”.

He issued a stark warning that “any aggression against the Islamic Republic of Iran will be met with a hard reaction by all Muslims across the world”.

Bahonar, a staunch ultra-conservative ally of the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, wields considerable influence as a key power-broker in the hard-line government. Many of Ahmadinejad’s political appointees as ministers, governors, and senior administrators are Bahonar’s protégés.

The Islamic Association of Engineers is part of the ultra-conservative camp loyal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

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