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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 May, 2005, 15:22 GMT 16:22 UK
Iran issues nuclear warning to US
By Frances Harrison
BBC News, Tehran

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Khamenei says the US cannot decide who has nuclear technology
The spiritual leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has warned the United States to stay out of his country's nuclear programme.

Speaking on a tour of south-east Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei said the US was arrogant, rude and deserved a punch in the mouth.

He also said Iran's presidential elections in June would not make any difference to its nuclear policy.

The US has expressed fears Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons.

Enrichment warning

Ayatollah Khamenei said it was not up to the US to decide which countries needed nuclear technology.

He also warned that Iran's forthcoming presidential elections were nothing to do with the Americans.

No president would dare violate the country's national interests because the people would not allow it, he said.

His comments came as Iran warned on Saturday it might resume suspended enrichment-related activities next week in defiance of an agreement that is underpinning nuclear talks with Europe.

Iran is concerned that negotiations are dragging on too long and has proposed a phased resumption of its nuclear activities.

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