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Page last updated at 14:22 GMT, Sunday, 13 September 2009 15:22 UK

Iran insists on nuclear 'right'

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, 7 September 2009
Iran's nuclear programme is non-negotiable, President Ahmadinejad said

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said Iran is ready to discuss global issues with world powers, but that its nuclear programme is non-negotiable.

Speaking to the new UK envoy in Tehran, Mr Ahmadinejad asserted his country's right to "peaceful nuclear technology".

Earlier this week, responding to an offer of international discussions by Iran, the US said it planned to bring up the nuclear issue during any talks.

The Iranian government has rejected UN calls to suspend uranium enrichment.

"We are ready to talk about international co-operation and resolving global economic and security problems," Iran's semi-official Fars news agency quoted Mr Ahmadinejad as saying on Sunday.

However he added: "Having peaceful nuclear technology is Iran's lawful and definite right and Iranians will not negotiate with anyone over their undeniable rights."

He made the reported remarks as Britain's new ambassador in Tehran, Simon Gass, presented his credentials.

Cautious response

Mr Ahmadinejad is due to attend the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York later this month.

On Wednesday, Tehran offered "comprehensive and constructive negotiations" - but did not mention its nuclear programme.

In its response, the US said it was ready to "test Iran's willingness to engage", while stressing that the offer did "not address our nuclear concerns".

The US has been urging Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment programme, which Western powers say could be used to make nuclear weapons.

The P+5 Group - the UK, China, France, Russia and the US plus Germany - have a longstanding offer on the table of diplomatic incentives in return for the suspension of Iran's uranium enrichment.

Iran has always insisted that its nuclear programme is for civilian purposes only.



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