Ahmadinejad on Nuke Deadline: 'We Don't Care'
Iran's president on Tuesday dismissed a year-end deadline set by the Obama administration and the West for Tehran to accept a U.N.-drafted deal to swap enriched uranium for nuclear fuel, and claimed his government is now "10 times stronger" than a year ago.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's remarks underscored Tehran's defiance amid the nuclear standoff — and also sought to send a message that his government had not been weakened by the protest movement sparked by June's disputed presidential election. His comments came a day after the latest opposition protest by tens of thousands mourning a dissident cleric who died over the weekend.
President Barack Obama has set a rough deadline of the end of this year for Iran to respond to an offer of dialogue and show that it will allay fears of weapons development. Washington and its allies are warning of new, tougher sanctions on Iran if it doesn't respond.
The U.N.-proposed deal is the centerpiece of the West's diplomatic effort. Under the deal, Tehran would ship most of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium abroad to be processed into fuel rods, which would ease the West's fears that the material could be used to produce a nuclear weapon.