Iranians speak out on US sanctions

Youngsters in Tehran appear divided over their country's nuclear programme.

    "The United States will not attack Iran,"
    said one student. "Iran is not like Iraq"

    Officials from the UN Security Council have met in London to discuss Iran's continuing refusal to halt its nuclear programme, amid increasing tension over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

    The meeting on Monday between US, France, Russia, China the UK and Germany, will consider further sanctions on Iran, but while many hope for a diplomatic solution, the US has said that all options "are on the table".

    With growing military activity in the region and the prospect of further sanctions facing the Iranian people, opinion, especially among the country's youth, appears to be divided over their government's uncompromising stance on its nuclear programme.

    Rageh Omar asked youngsters on the streets of Tehran for their views.

    One university student told Al Jazeera: "I swear that the United States will not attack Iran. Iran is not like Iraq. It is better to say that it is not wise to attack Iran.

    "We know that some countries like Israel ... have some purposes for some weapons ... Iran just wants to get access to some energy, a peaceful source of energy."

    Nuclear weapons

    A number of countries, including the US, say Iran's nuclear programme is intended to produce nuclear weapons.

    Iran denies these claims, saying its nuclear programme is for civilian purposes only and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's president, has refused to to abandon the country's uranium enrichment programme.

    There is genuine support for a civilian nuclear programme in Iran, but many Iranians say a double standard is at play on the issue of nuclear weapons.

    One young Iranian said: "We listen to the domestic and international media, but we don't know the position of the US and European powers. Are they concerned because we're making technological progress in nuclear research or are they worried about nuclear weapons? Because nuclear research and know-how is a right and we need it."

    Threat to its neighbours

    Many say Washington's attempts to present Iran
    as a threat is behind heightening tensions in the region
    Many are worried that Washington's attempts to present Iran as a threat to its Arab neighbours is behind heightening tensions in the region.

    One Iranian said: "In order to deal with its problem in the region, the United States is trying to create conflict between Sunnis and Iran."

    But other young people feel the time has come for their government to consider its position.

    "We must see what the profits are and what we [Iran] will get if we have atomic energy not nuclear bombs or anything like that", said one Iranian.

    In the 1980s, more than 300,000 people died in the conflict between Iran and Iraq. The generation born during that conflict could now face another attack by a foreign country.

    This time it may be the US.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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