Iranian officials on Thursday said that Iran will not step back from its nuclear activities due to Western pressures after the International Atomic Energy Agency ( IAEA) report and will confront any military strike on the country with full force.
Iran's Majlis (parliament) Speaker Ali Larijani said Thursday that Iran will never change its path in the face of Western pressures that might be exerted after the latest IAEA report on Iran's nuclear program.
The IAEA said on Tuesday in its latest report on Iran's nuclear program that "credible" evidence showed that Iran has been seeking to obtain nuclear weapons.
Nobody should consider the threats by the West against Iran as serious, Larijani said in Iran's central city of Semnan, referring to the Washington and its Western allies' threats after the IAEA report.
Iran has made good advancements in nuclear and nanotechnology know-how, and the United States, Israel and Western countries should know that Iran will never change its path.
He said that Western threats against Iran aim at intimidating Iranians and that the West thinks that, by exerting sanction on Iran, it will be able to make Iran surrender. But Iranians could resist any pressures, he stressed.
Washington is considering ways to impose additional pressure on Iran, said U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner on Wednesday, a day after the release of the IAEA report.
"As we move forward, we're going to consult and certainly look at ways to impose additional pressure on Iran," Toner said at a regular briefing.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said Thursday that Iran will respond "powerfully" to any possible attack on the country by the United States and Israel, the semi- official Fars news agency reported.
"The enemies, especially the United States and the Zionist regime (of Israel) should know that Iran does not invade any country, but will respond to any aggression (on the Islamic Republic) and even to any threats (to the country) powerfully," Khamenei made the remarks addressing Iranian army students.
"Anybody who may think of aggressions on the Islamic Republic should make itself ready to receive strong slaps and iron fists from Iranian Army, Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, (the voluntary forces of) Basij and in one word from Iranian great nation," he was quoted as saying.
Khamenei's remarks came as the reports said recently that the Western countries and Israel may launch an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.
Dutch foreign minister said on Thursday that the Netherlands supports tougher sanctions against Iran but opposes military action.
Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Uri Rosenthal said that "the international community must step up the pressure and set tough penalties (on Iran). I will try to convince my EU partners."
"The Netherlands will plead at the board of the IAEA for a tough resolution that forces Iran to disclose what they are doing, " Rosenthal said.
"The penalties should strike Iranian government at the heart, but spare the population as much as possible," he added.
On Thursday, a Russian State Duma senior official said that Russia will do everything possible to prevent a military strike on Iran and push forward political dialogue on Iran's nuclear issue.
According to State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee head Konstantin Kosachev, Russia would call on each side to show restraint and not to impose new sanctions against Iran.
"Military operations against Iran would only lead to serious consequences. Russia should try every effort to push the talks back to the right track," he was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying.
Kosachev also questioned the latest report by the IAEA on the Iran nuclear issue, saying it didn't provide any new evidence to show Iran was developing nuclear weapons.
"We should wait for the experts' analysis on the report. It's too early to draw the conclusion that Iran has violated the obligations on nuclear nonproliferation and therefore deserves economic or military punishment," he said.
China on Thursday said sanctions cannot fundamentally resolve the Iran nuclear issue, after some countries called for sanctions against Iran after a recent United Nations watchdog report said Iran has engaged in the development of nuclear weapons.
"We, as always, believe that dialogue and cooperation are the only effective approaches for properly resolving the Iran nuclear issue. Imposing pressure and sanctions cannot fundamentally resolve the issue," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily press briefing.
Hong's comments came after the IAEA on Tuesday said in its latest report that credible evidence shows Iran has engaged in projects and experiments relevant to the development of nuclear weapons.
Hong said the top priorities are stepping up diplomatic efforts, promoting dialogue between Iran and six countries -- the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany -- and seeking substantive progress from the cooperation between the IAEA and Iran.
Hong called on the IAEA to take a fair and objective stance, commit itself to working with Iran to clarify related issues and resolve those issues within the IAEA framework.
Tehran has completely rejected the report, calling the IAEA report "imbalanced, unprofessional and politically- motivated."