Today marks the 33rd anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, a day marked by widespread internet censorship and disturbing promises from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the country will reveal "big new" nuclear achievements in the coming days. The claims came at a rally in Tehran's Azadi Square, where tens of thousands had gathered to celebrate the Ayatollah Khomeini-led revolution that overthrew the country's monarchy and brought Islamic fundamentalists to power.
“Within the next few days the world will witness the inauguration of several big new achievements in the nuclear field," [Ahmadinejad said.]
The president went on to say that "all needs of the Iranian nation" would be met by its nuclear experts in the near future. Five of those scientists have been assassinated in the past two years. The most recent, 32-year-old chemist Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, was killed last month in traffic by assassins on motorcycles, The Sydney Morning Herald reports. Ahmadinejad did not mention the assassinations, but did directly reference to West's sanctions. From the BBC:
The president said Western powers were using the nuclear issue as a "pretext" to work "against the development of the Iranian nation".
"They say that they want to talk to us. We have always been ready for talks. Well, they should be within the framework of justice and respect."
"I clearly declare that if you (the West) use the language of force and insult, the Iranian nation will never yield to you," he said.
Ahmadinejad did not elaborate further, the AP reports, but did insist the country would never relinquish its uranium-enrichment activities. The country has insisted their nuclear program is intended solely for energy, not bomb, production -- a claim highly doubted by Western governments. Sanctions from the U.N., as well as further financial penalties levied against them by the U.S. and European Union, have made it difficult for Iran to proceed with their nuclear ambitions, but not impossible: The country claimed to have successfully produced its first fuel rod in January.