Iran claimed Tuesday it will resume uranium programme notwithstanding international pressure. "Iran's nuclear heart starts ticking," said the front-page headline of Hemayat daily. "Iran stood by its word," said the hardline Kayhan.
Defence Minister Ali Shamkhani said: “Should we accept humiliation, the sanctions, see ourselves be punished, or should we resist? I think that we should resist.”
"What are they going to do at the Security Council, impose sanctions on us? Sanctions have already been imposed on us," he added.
Shamkhani's comments came hours ahead of an emergency meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over Iran's resumption yesterday of ultra-sensitive uranium conversion activities after a nine-month suspension, Forbes reports.
Although Shamkhani judged it 'probable' that Iran would be sent to the UN Security Council over its nuclear programme, he predicted that this would not be happening in the immediate aftermath of today's meeting.
"It is not as though they are going to send us tomorrow to the Security Council."
"I think that they will adopt a resolution against Iran which will ask why it has stopped applying the Paris agreement" concluded in November with the Europeans, under which Iran suspended uranium enrichment and conversion activities.
Iran complained the EU offer ignored its right as a signatory of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to produce its own nuclear reactor fuel.
"The European countries are following the U.S. blindly, in fact they have put their honor up for auction," said ultra-conservative Jomhuri-ye Eslami.
In Iran's parliament on Tuesday, lawmakers were quick to laud the move to restart Isfahan.
Fellow MP Eshrat Shayegh said: "Iran is committed to cooperation with the international community, but it opposes bullying by those who tend to solve problems by force."
The most sensitive part of Iran's nuclear industry -- the uranium enrichment plant at Natanz - remains suspended and under U.N. seal. But atomic officials indicated they were also keen to restart work there which could be used to make atomic reactor fuel or material for nuclear warheads. "We are keeping Natanz facilities suspended to build more confidence but there's no doubt it will re-start operations too," Mohammad Saeedi, deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, was quoted as saying in Kayhan.
An explosion of household gas occurred in a nine-storeyed apartment building in the city of Shakhty, the Rostov region of Russia. The blast destroyed two storeys of the building