TEHRAN, Iran — Facing the threat of new U.N. sanctions, Iran’s president said Monday the veto power held by the U.S. and other permanent Security Council members is a “satanic tool.”
Washington and its allies have been pressing for a fourth round of U.N. penalties on Iran for its refusal to halt a key part of its nuclear program that could be used to make nuclear weapons. Iran says it only wants the technology for producing nuclear power.
In a revelation likely to add to their suspicions, however, a former foreign minister, Ali Akbar Velayati, was quoted as telling a newspaper that Iran obtained its first centrifuge from Pakistan in 1986.
It was Iran’s first public confirmation of a clandestine transfer of nuclear technology specifically from Pakistan, which itself had already acknowledged the nuclear sales. Centrifuges, which purify uranium gas, are the central component of a process that can make fuel for power plants or – at higher levels of processing – weapons.
Iran’s nuclear work remained a secret until 2003, when the U.N.’s nuclear monitoring agency began investigating the program. Its work and Iran’s assurances that it only has peaceful motives have failed to quell the international concern and suspicion.