UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said on Friday the recent report from the UN atomic watchdog serves as additional proof that Iran is on the path to weaponizing its nuclear program in defiance of the international community.
"The IAEA report quite plainly underscores that Iran continues to flout its international obligations and has demonstrated absolutely no readiness to take the steps that it could to try to demonstrate that it intends, as it claims, a peaceful nuclear program," Rice said, referring to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). "On the contrary, what we see are more and more indications that is indeed a nuclear weapons program with the purpose of evasion."
Rice made the comments to reporters before heading into a Security Council meeting on Haiti.
In a confidential report obtained by Reuters on Thursday, the IAEA said it was concerned about possible current activity in Iran to develop a nuclear payload for a missile. The report, which confirmed Iran had produced its first batch of 20 percent Highly Enriched Uranium, said Iran had failed to give inspectors the required advance notice.
"The IAEA report is an important element that underscores to the intentional community and the Security Council the urgency of making the choice real to Iran, that it could engage and uphold its international obligations or, on the contrary, face increased international pressure," said Rice.
In an effort to rein in Iran's nuclear program without directly affecting the Iranian population, the U.S., along with Britain, France and Germany, have been pushing for a fourth round of UN Security Council sanctions that would target several Iranian shipping companies and Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps., which has evolved into one of the country's most influential domestic institutions, reports said.
"We and others are working on the beginnings of what might constitute appropriate pressure," said Rice.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reiterated on Friday that Iran does not seek to develop nuclear weapons, the official IRNA news agency reported.
"The threadbare and vain claims that nuclear arms are being made in Iran indicate that enemies of the nation have resorted to repetition even in the field of propaganda out of extreme helplessness," Khamenei was quoted as saying.
"Iran will not fall into emotions because we have repeatedly said that our religious ideas and beliefs consider such weapons, which are the symbols of mankind degeneration, as forbidden and ' haram' (religiously prohibited)," Khamenei said.
"Due to the same reason, we do not have the least belief in nuclear arms and bombs and do not go after them," he added.