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Rogue Nation

Iran: 'We Welcome New Sanctions'

In an audacious interview with German newspaper Der Spiegel, Iran’s Chief Nuclear Negotiator, Saeed Jalili, defended his nation’s “right to enrich uranium” and dared America to impose new sanctions. “Do you really believe there are sanctions that can hit us that hard?” Jalili asked. “We’ve lived with sanctions for 30 years, and they can’t bring a great nation like Iran to its knees. They do not frighten us. Quite the opposite—we welcome new sanctions.” He went on to explain that “anything that curtails consumption and promotes the development of our self-sufficiency is useful.” Jalili reiterated his nation’s support for nuclear disarmament, but not at the expense of Iran’s nuclear facilities, which the government says are for energy purposes only: “I don’t understand why Europe is worried about a few centrifuges in Iran and not about the nuclear weapons stored in Europe.” He added, “We don’t need a bomb.” Jalili also discussed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s explosive relationship with Israel—“Doesn’t Israel possess nuclear weapons?”—and Iran’s recent contested election—“Differences of opinion are part of democracy.”

September 30, 2009 1:14 PM