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Last Updated: Friday, 16 November 2007, 18:21 GMT
Iran calls for US nuclear apology
President Ahmadinejad speaks at Iran's nuclear enrichment facility in Natanz, April 2007
President Ahmadinejad says Iran's nuclear programme is peaceful
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said the US and its allies should apologise for their treatment of Iran over its nuclear programme.

Mr Ahmadinejad said the latest report by the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) showed Iran had been truthful about its nuclear activities.

The IAEA found Iran had clarified some of its nuclear history but questions remained over present activities.

The US has vowed to push for further UN sanctions in the light of the report.

The IAEA report praised Tehran for making progress in responding to questions about past activities but warned that the agency's knowledge about Tehran's current nuclear programme was diminishing.

It said that Iran was continuing to enrich uranium in defiance of demands by the UN Security Council.

"Selective co-operation" was "not good enough", the White House said after the report's release on Thursday.

Meanwhile, a meeting scheduled for next week to discuss further sanctions against Iran has been cancelled because China has pulled out, diplomats say.

'Political victory'

Iran has portrayed the IAEA's latest findings as a political victory.

"Since the first days, we have declared that Iran's nuclear activities are lawful and in the framework of its legal rights, but the Western countries' propagation networks and political pressures did not allow the Iranians' voice be heard in the world," Mr Ahmadinejad is quoted by state media as saying.

"Now the whole world has seen that the news was not true and Iran's activities have been clean and peaceful and all the main questions of the IAEA have received their appropriate answers."

IAEA REPORT

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Mr Ahmadinejad said the time had come for the US and its allies to change their behaviour. "Upon wrong and incorrect information you issued two resolutions," he said, referring to two earlier rounds of UN sanctions.

"Now that you have found out that this information was wrong, you have to be brave and come forward and tell the Iranian nation 'We made a mistake' and apologise."

Weapons fear

While Tehran insists the IAEA report gave it a clean bill of health, the US and its allies fear Iran is developing a nuclear weapons capability.

The UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reached a deal in August with Iran, according to which Tehran would answer outstanding questions as part of a four-year probe into its nuclear drive.

This report sadly makes clear that Iran seems uninterested in working with the rest of the world
Dana Perino
White House spokeswoman

"Iran has provided sufficient access to individuals and has responded in a timely manner to questions and provided clarifications and amplifications on issues raised in the context of the work plan," the latest report said.

However, it said Iran's co-operation had been "reactive" rather than "pro-active" and that the IAEA was continuing to check whether Iran's declarations were complete.

The report also found that the agency's knowledge about Tehran's current nuclear programme was diminishing and that Iran had not suspended its uranium enrichment activities as called for by the Security Council.

It says the government had been operating 3,000 centrifuges, the machines used to enrich uranium, at its plant at Natanz.

Sanctions threat

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said: "This report indicates that Iran continues to defy the international community and two unanimous UN Security Council resolutions."

She added that the documents made it "clear that Iran seems uninterested in working with the rest of the world".

Ms Perino said the US planned to work towards a new set of Security Council sanctions with representatives of the five permanent members, along with Germany, at a meeting scheduled for next week in Brussels.

Western powers are concerned because, while enriched uranium is used as fuel for nuclear reactors, highly enriched uranium can also be used to make nuclear bombs.

Two UN Security Council resolutions approved in March imposed limited sanctions on Iran, including a ban on arms sales and restrictions on financial assistance.

In September, council members agreed to delay a vote on further measures until the publication of the current report.

Top Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili said the report proved that accusations against his country were baseless and new sanctions would be wrong.

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Iran's nuclear negotiator welcomes the report





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