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Middle east

Ahmadinejad says Tehran has 'no need' for nuclear weapons

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-09-18

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said nuclear weapons "belonged to the past" and that "we do not see any need for such weapons" during an interview on US TV. He also reiterated Iran's right to pursue its nuclear energy programme.

AFP - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Thursday Tehran has no need of nuclear arms, but did not explicitly rule out acquiring them during an interview with US television.

Ahmadinejad made the remarks on NBC television before Iran is scheduled to meet October 1 with the United States and five other powers which are demanding that Tehran halt its disputed nuclear program.

"We have always believed in talking, in negotiation. That is our logic, nothing has changed," Ahmadinejad told NBC television.

"Nuclear arms, we believe they belong to the past and the past generation," he said through an interpreter. "We do not see any need for such weapons."

Asked by an interviewer if he could issue a clearer statement ruling out Iran's obtaining such weapons, he replied: "You can take from that whatever you want Madam."

The United States, which suspects Iran may be using its uranium enrichment program as a cover for building a nuclear weapon, wants more explicit answers from Iran in the upcoming talks.

Iran denies the charge, saying its program is for peaceful nuclear energy.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that Iran must answer "head on" concerns about its nuclear program at the meeting even though Tehran has so far ignored such appeals.

Clinton said the point of the meeting between Iran and the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany is to test Tehran's readiness to discuss such concerns.

Washington will be taking its dual track, or carrot-and-stick, approach to the meeting, Clinton added.

The UN Security Council has imposed three sets of sanctions against Iran over its refusal to freeze its uranium enrichment activities and Washington has threatened to push for new sanctions if engagement with Iran fails.

The six powers are offering diplomatic, trade and other benefits if Iran cooperates.

The six powers -- which represent the five veto-wielding permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany -- had called for urgent talks with Iran after it handed over the proposals last week.

Washington expressed disappointment with the package, saying it was "not really responsive to our greatest concern," which is the nuclear issue, but Moscow said it offered "something to dig into."

According to a copy of the proposals obtained and published by US non-profit investigative journalism group, Pro Publica, Iran said it was prepared to hold "comprehensive, all-encompassing and constructive negotiations."
 

Date created : 2009-09-18

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