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Iran is a nuclear power: Ahmadinejad aide

Iran is a nuclear power and it will not tolerate threats from world powers when they discuss Tehran's package of proposals on October 1, a top aide to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told AFP in an interview.

world Updated: Sep 18, 2009 10:04 IST

Iran is a nuclear power and it will not tolerate threats from world powers when they discuss Tehran's package of proposals on October 1, a top aide to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told AFP in an interview.

Ali Akbar Javanfekr, media advisor to Ahmadinejad, also said that accepting the Islamic republic as a nuclear power was the "first step" towards normalising relations between Tehran, Washington and the West.

"Iran is a nuclear power. We won't accept any threats during the negotiations or even after. We want negotiations based on logic and international laws," Javanfekr said in an wide-ranging interview at his Tehran office late on Tuesday.

"They have to accept a nuclear Iran and have to negotiate with a nuclear Iran."

Iran and representatives of six world powers -- the United States, Britain, Russia, France, China and Germany -- are to meet on October 1, probably in Turkey, to discuss Tehran's proposals aimed at allaying concerns over its nuclear programme.

The United States, Israel, and other world powers suspect Tehran is making an atomic bomb under the guise of a civilian nuclear programme. The Islamic republic denies the charge.

The six powers -- known as the P5+1 -- had given Tehran a late September deadline for holding talks and had warned that a failure to do so would lead to further sanctions.

Iran is already under three sets of UN sanctions slapped for its refusal to abandon the sensitive uranium enrichment programme, the process which produces nuclear fuel or, in highly extended form, the fissile core of an atomic bomb.

Javanfekr said Iran's nuclear programme was in accordance with international laws.

"What we want is that they (world powers) respect our nuclear rights and also other rights," he said. "This can be the first step towards normalising relations with US and the West."

Javanfekr also reiterated what other top Iranian officials, including supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have been saying -- Tehran will not negotiate over its nuclear programme during the talks on October 1.

"We have said negotiations will be based on our package and our package does not include Iran's nuclear programme. As our president has said the nuclear question is over," the softly-spoken official said.

Tehran's package attempts to address the issue of global nuclear disarmament but avoids mentioning its own atomic programme, including its uranium enrichment drive.

The key difference between Tehran's latest package and its May 2008 package is that the previous document showed Iran's willingess to form an international consortium to enrich uranium, but the updated version avoids talking of such a possibility.

"We have the technology and that is a reality which they have to accept," Javanfekr said, suggesting that Ahmadinejad's announcement earlier this year that Iran had mastered the nuclear fuel cycle was probably the reason Tehran now feels it unnecessary to be part of an international uranium consortium.

"The situation would have been different if we had not mastered this technology. They have to understand that we have made progress in other fields also and our progress has been fast," he added.

Earlier this year Iran announced it had sent its first domestically-built satellite, Omid (Hope), into orbit.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday that Iran must answer "head on" concerns about its nuclear programme during the October talks.

"We have made clear to the Iranians that any talks we participate in must address the nuclear issue head on. It cannot be ignored," Clinton said.

Javanfekr said Iran is ready to face the six powers and "during the talks we will definitely speak of banning nuclear arms globally because it is not a problem for us as we do not possess any nuclear arms."

Javanfekr said Iran is ready to step up its cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

"Our cooperation with the IAEA is of the highest level and we are ready for more cooperation," he said. Iran recently permitted IAEA inspectors to its heavy-water plant in Arak, located in the province of Markezi.

Javanfekr was also critical of Barack Obama, saying the US president had failed to change the American policy towards Iran.

"He only talks of change, but has done nothing concrete. He can release the Iranian money which America seized after the (Islamic) revolution or put an end to sanctions," he said.

Soon after the capture of US embassy in Iran by Islamist students in 1979, then US President Jimmy Carter ordered freezing of Iranian assets held in the US. Iran says the amount is worth around 10 billion dollars, but US officials claim it to be much less.

Obama has initiated several diplomatic overtures towards Iran to resolve the nuclear controversy as well as help ease the 30-year animosity between the two nations.

But Javanfekr, becoming visibly upset, said Obama missed a key opportunity by "not congratulating our president on his election victory."