msnbc.com news services
updated 4/25/2006 3:13:22 PM ET 2006-04-25T19:13:22

Iran threatened Tuesday to begin hiding its nuclear program if the West takes any “harsh measures” against it, in the country’s sharpest rebuttal yet to a U.N. Security Council deadline to suspend uranium enrichment or face possible sanctions.

Iran’s supreme leader, meanwhile, said in a meeting with the president of wartorn Sudan that Tehran was ready to transfer its nuclear technology to other countries.

Iran’s warning to the U.N. watchdog agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency, came from Tehran’s top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani. They were the strongest words of defiance yet ahead of a Friday deadline, set by the Security Council, for Iran to suspend enrichment of uranium, a process that can produce fuel for nuclear reactors or material for warheads.

“Military action against Iran will not end our program,” Larijani said at a conference on the energy program. “If you take harsh measures, we will hide this program. If you use the language of force, you should not expect us to act transparently.”

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice immediately shot back, saying Iran’s statements were further isolating it from the international community.

Transfer of technology?
The comments come a day after Iran’s top leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said during a meeting with the president of Sudan that Iran is ready to transfer its nuclear technology to neighboring countries.

Khamenei made the comments in a meeting with visiting Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who said last month that his impoverished, wartorn country was considering trying to create a nuclear program to generate electrical power.

“Iran’s nuclear capability is one example of various scientific capabilities in the country ... the Islamic Republic of Iran is prepared to transfer the experience, knowledge and technology of its scientists,” Khamenei told al-Bashir during their meeting.

Al-Bashir congratulated Iran for its success in producing enriched uranium for the first time, saying the achievement was a “great success for the world of Islam.”

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments