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Iran nuclear work will go on: Ahmadinejad

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on told visiting Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika that Tehran will press on with its nuclear programme, despite the risk of fresh sanctions.

world Updated: Aug 11, 2008 20:00 IST

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday told visiting Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika that Tehran will press on with its nuclear programme, despite the risk of fresh sanctions.

"They've deeply understood that Iran's peaceful nuclear programme will never be halted and of course they have no choice but to keep on talking to Iran," Ahmadinejad was quoted as telling Bouteflika.

"Despite threats and sanctions by a number of big powers, our nation is robust and is continuing living its own life as they cannot put obstacles in the path of our progress," Ahmadinejad added, according to the state run television website.

Bouteflika on Sunday started a visit to Iran at the head of a high-level political and economic team of ministers.

Bouteflika, who last visited the Islamic republic in 2003, is expected to meet Monday with Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and parliament speaker Ali Larijani. He is to leave Tehran on Tuesday.

Iran is facing a possible fourth round of UN Security Council sanctions over its refusal to halt enrichment, a process which makes nuclear fuel but also the core of an atomic bomb.

Algeria is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, which supports Iran's civilian nuclear activities, feared by the West as a cover for developing nuclear weapons.

Ahmadinejad's comments came as Iran's top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana agreed to pursue talks aimed at resolving the nuclear crisis, state television reported.

Six major powers have offered Iran a package of incentives in return for a freeze in uranium enrichment activities, to no avail until now.

Tehran has long denied seeking the atomic bomb, insisting that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty it has the right to develop nuclear technology to generate electricity for its growing population.