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Last Updated: Friday, 5 October 2007, 11:42 GMT 12:42 UK
Iran defiant over nuclear issue
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Ahmadinejad repeated his criticisms of Israel on al-Quds day
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has made a defiant speech defending Iran's nuclear programme against criticism from Western countries.

He said Iran was no longer willing to discuss its undeniable right to nuclear energy - and he described the nuclear programme as a great victory for Iran.

He was speaking in Tehran on al-Quds day, a day of protests in support of the Palestinian people.

Mr Ahmadinejad said Iran would work until "all of Palestine is liberated".

Iran does not recognise Israel. Mr Ahmadinejad has called for an end to the Israeli state and has described the Holocaust as a myth.

The Iranian people are not ready to sit around a table and discuss their absolute nuclear rights
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

In 2004, the Iranian president made a statement in which he envisaged the replacement of Israel with a Palestinian state.

The Iranian president also warned that major powers were plotting against Iran - a reference, BBC Tehran correspondent Jon Leyne says, to his belief that the US is to trying orchestrate a popular uprising within Iran.

Marches

Al-Quds day is an annual day of mass protest marches in solidarity with the Palestinians.

Tens of thousands of Iranians marched in central Tehran, carrying anti-Israeli banners and burning Israeli and American flags.

Reports say millions of Iranians took part in protests across the country.

On the nuclear issue, Mr Ahmadinejad said: "The Iranian people are not ready to sit around a table and discuss their absolute nuclear rights. They [the world powers] have to know this."

Western powers believe that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons programme and the UN Security Council has passed resolutions demanding that Tehran stop enriching uranium.

Iran insists that its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful.



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Ahmadinejad defends Iran's nuclear programme



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