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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ahmadinejad Defiant But Ready to Talk

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad struck a defiant yet vague tone Sunday, telling Iranians during the 28th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution that their country would not give up uranium enrichment but was prepared to talk with the international community.

The leader's remarks, which came days before a United Nations Security Council deadline demanding Tehran halt enrichment or face further sanctions, fell short of an expected announcement that Iran had started installing 3,000 centrifuges to enrich uranium at its Natanz plant.

"The Iranian nation on Feb. 11, 2007, passed the arduous passes and stabilized its definite [nuclear] right," Ahmadinejad said. He did not elaborate, but his comments appeared to mean that Iran had achieved proficiency in nuclear fuel-cycle technology.

Ahmadinejad, however, also said Iran was ready for "dialogue," and his country's program would remain within the limits of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty that bans production of nuclear weapons.

While Iran insists it will not give up uranium enrichment, the United States and some of its allies fear the Islamic republic is more interested in enrichment's other application -- creating the fissile core of nuclear warheads.

At a security conference in Germany, Iran's top nuclear negotiator said Sunday that his country's nuclear program was not a threat to Israel or any other nation.

"That Iran is willing to threaten Israel is wrong," Ali Larijani said. "We pose no threat and if we are conducting nuclear research and development we are no threat to Israel. We have no intention of aggression against any country."

Ahmadinejad said Iran's nuclear technology advances would gradually be made public over the course of the next two months until April 9. He did not explain what would happen on that date, but it marks the one-year anniversary of Iran's announcement that it had enriched uranium for the first time.

The Iranian leader suggested last week that Tehran would announce that it had begun installing a new assembly of 3,000 centrifuges in an underground portion of its uranium enrichment facility at Natanz that the United States and some of its allies fear could be used to build nuclear weapons.

It is widely believed Ahmadinejad listened to moderate voices within the ruling Islamic establishment telling him not to make such a provocative statement that was sure to heighten tensions between Iran and the West.