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Iran inaugurates nuke plant before UN deadline

Iran has inaugurated a plant for producing heavy water, expanding its nuclear programme.

india Updated: Aug 27, 2006 04:57 IST

Iran has inaugurated a plant for producing heavy water, expanding its nuclear programme in a defiant move only days before a UN deadline threatening sanctions unless Tehran reels in activities the West fears aim to build nuclear weapons.

The move hikes concerns because the heavy water will be used in a reactor still under construction that the United States and others say could be used to produce plutonium for a warhead.

Hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shrugged off the possibility of sanctions, insisting his country would not slow its nuclear ambitions.

"We tell the Western countries not to cause trouble for themselves because Iranian people are determined to make progress and acquire technology," Ahmadinejad said after inaugurating the site, underlining that Iran's nuclear programme was peaceful.

"There is no discussion of nuclear weapons," he said. "We are not a threat to anybody even the Zionist regime (Israel), which is a definite enemy to the people of the region."

The UN Security Council has given Iran until Thursday to suspend a key part of its nuclear programme - the enrichment of uranium, a process that can produce either fuel for a reactor or material for a warhead.

But Iran has refused any immediate suspension, dismissing the deadline as illegal - a stance that put it on a collision course with the UN Security Council.

First Published: Aug 27, 2006 04:57 IST