Iran on Monday celebrated the one-year anniversary of the country‘s first success in enriching uranium, as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prepared to announce new progress in the key process that the United Nations has demanded Iran halt.
The U.N. has imposed limited sanctions on Iran until it suspends enrichment a key process that can produce either fuel for a nuclear reactor or the basis of a warhead. The United States and its allies accuse Iran of seeking to build nuclear weapons, a claim the country denies.
Gen. Mohammad Baqer Zolqadr, who is also deputy interior minister for security affairs, was quoted on the state TV Web site as saying that his six-day journey to Moscow, which ended Monday, showed "the ineffectiveness of the resolution."
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Krivtsov confirmed that Zolqadr visited Russia. He told The Associated Press that the resolution does not prohibit visits by the listed individuals, instead calling for heightened vigilance and attention, and that "this vigilance is directed first of all at people who are directly related to nuclear programs," suggesting that Zolqadr was not.
Tensions are also high between Iran and the West following the 13-day detention of 15 British sailors by Iran. The sailors, who were seized by Revolutionary Guards off the Iraqi coast, were released on Wednesday, but since then have said they were put under psychological pressure by their captors to force them to "confess" to being in Iranian waters when captured, angering many in Britain.
Diplomats from developing nations were attending Monday‘s celebrations at Natanz, but diplomats from European Union boycotted to protest Iran‘s refusal of the U.N. demands, said the Foreign Ministry in Germany, which currently holds the EU presidency.