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Iranians indifferent to UN deadline
Latest Updated by 2006-09-01 08:58:25
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Special report: Iran Nuclear Crisis

"Today is the day for the deadline?" the owner of a gold shop near central Tehran's Ferdowsi Street said Thursday when asked about his opinion on a UN demand for Iran to suspend uranium enrichment or face possible sanctions.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks to journalists during a news conference in Tehran August 27, 2006. (Xinhua Photo)

"No one has rushed to the shops for gold products because of the deadline and the prices are quite stable," Hassan Rabet said after he hung up the phone for a business call.

On the day of the UN deadline for Tehran to suspend uranium enrichment, ordinary Iranians seemed to pay no attention to it and continued to live their own lives. Shops opened as usual and traffic jams took place in almost every crossing, a common scene on every common day in the capital.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, when making a televised speech Thursday to a large crowd in Orumiyeh in northwestern Iran, vowed not to back down an "inch" in the face of "intimidation."

On the same day, U.S. President George W. Bush declared that "there must be consequences" for Iran for refusing to stop enriching uranium, while John Bolton, Washington's ambassador to the UN, chose to be more specific, saying the Security Council must now draw up sanctions against Iran.

"It's not something new," Rabet said, shrugging his shoulders. "Iranians have been living under the threat of sanctions for more than 20 years."

He said that Iran is a big country abundant in natural resources and manpower and it will not have much difficulty in supplying the people with daily necessities, such as food, water and clothing.

"Iran is not a desert," Rabet said. "Moreover, some people will engage in smuggling things into Iran and even some companies from Western countries will find ways to get around sanctions."

"You will buy anything if you get the money," he added. Amir Beik, a customer in the shop, echoed, "There has been pressure of sanctions on us over the years. We have gotten used to it."

While most people, when being interviewed, said they did not believe the UN Security Council would impose trade embargoes on Iran soon, some are a bit anxious as prospect of sanctions loomed. "Of course they (the sanctions) will affect everyone," said a jewelry maker in a nearby shop, who only gave his name as Ahmed.

"The people's lives, businesses, and everything, would be affected by sanctions," he said. "The prices might go up dramatically and I am afraid some people could not afford them."

In Tehran's foreign currency black markets as well as legal exchange bureaus, the rial remained stable with exchange rate at around 9,200 rials to the dollar on Thursday.

"A UN resolution has so far not affected local exchange market. I did not see much change in demand and supply," said Ali Davoudi, a clerk in an exchange bureau in Tehran's upscale Farmaniyeh district.

"Basically right now most people are concerned about their own lives, like their jobs, businesses and children," he said. "They don't care much about the deadline."

The Security Council adopted a resolution in late July urging Tehran to suspend by Aug. 31 all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, or face prospect of sanctions.

On Thursday, International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohammed ElBaradei presented a report to the Security Council, saying "Iran has continued enriching uranium despite a UN nuclear deadline for it to suspend or face possible sanctions."

Outside a UN office in Tehran's northeastern Darrus district, a site for Iranian demonstrators from time to time, traffic ran as usual Thursday and not a single protestor was seen.

Editor: Yan

By: Liang Youchang Source: China View website
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