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Iran Dismisses US Warning of Strong UN Action

  • VOA News

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has dismissed a warning from U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that Iran could face strong action by the U.N. Security Council.

Iran's state-run news agency says Mr. Ahmadinejad spoke on Friday on the sidelines of a conference in Tehran on Palestinian support.

He said Rice is free to speak out, but that her comments were not important.

Rice said Thursday Iran could face escalating international penalties if it ignores a Security Council demand to halt its nuclear work, including U.N. action that could allow the use of military force.

In his remarks, Mr. Ahmadinejad also lashed out again at Israel, saying what he called the "Zionist regime" is a threat to other Middle Eastern countries. He again voiced doubt about the existence of the Holocaust against the Jews in World War Two.

A U.S. State Department spokesman (Sean McCormack) called Mr. Ahmadenijad's remarks "reprehensible."

He said they add to the fears and concerns of the international community in relation to Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, also directed inflammatory remarks at Israel during the conference.

Last month, the U.N. Security Council gave Iran 30 days to suspend uranium enrichment. But Tehran rejected an appeal Thursday from the International Atomic Energy Agency to suspend uranium enrichment activities.

The I.A.E.A. is expected to report to the Security Council on Iran's compliance by April 28th.

The United States accuses Iran of running a secret nuclear weapons program -- a charge Tehran denies.

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