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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 October, 2003, 10:06 GMT 11:06 UK
Iran defies IAEA on uranium plans
Satellite image of nuclear power reactor in Bushehr, Iran. Photo: Digitalglobe
Tehran says its nuclear programme is for energy only
Iran has said it will not suspend its uranium enrichment activities, despite pressure from the United Nations nuclear agency.

The defiant statement came from the Iranian Foreign Minister, Kamal Kharrazi, who was addressing a conference of prayer leaders.

The state news agency, Irna, quoted Mr Kharrazi as saying: "We will not allow anyone to deprive us of our legitimate right to use nuclear technology, particularly enrichment for providing fuel for nuclear power stations."

A suspension of uranium enrichment is one of the demands of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has set a deadline of 31 October for Iran to prove it is not trying to produce nuclear weapons.

Enriched uranium can be used to fuel nuclear power stations, but if enriched further, it can also be used in weapons.

Data revealed

Mr Kharazi's remarks came after signs that Iran had begun complying with the IAEA's demands.

On Monday, Iran began releasing details of components it had imported unofficially for its nuclear programme, as the UN watchdog had requested.

Find out more about key nuclear sites in Iran

However, Teheran has yet to accept another key condition which the agency is seeking to impose - the right of UN inspectors to mount snap inspections.

On previous, arranged, inspections to Iranian facilities, inspectors found traces of highly enriched uranium - sparking suspicions that the country was seeking to build a nuclear bomb.

However, Iran, which now largely relies on Russian technology for its nuclear programme, contends that the traces were contamination from parts supplied from abroad.

Mr Kharazi said that despite disagreements with the IAEA, Iran had no intention of pulling out of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

He said his government was committed to the treaty and was determined to remain one of its signatories.

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