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'West must acknowledge Iran N-rights'

Following a US intelligence report, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says that the US and its Western allies should acknowledge Iran's nuclear rights.

world Updated: Dec 05, 2007 11:53 IST

Following a US intelligence report that Iran has halted its nuclear weapons programme, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that the US and its Western allies should acknowledge Iran's nuclear rights.

"There is no other way for the US and its Western allies than to acknowledge the rights of the Iranian nation to pursue nuclear technology," Ahmadinejad told Magnus Wernstedt, Sweden's new ambassador to Iran, on Tuesday.

A US intelligence report released on Monday said Iran had halted its atomic weapons programme in 2003 and seemed less determined to develop nuclear arms than the administration of US President George W Bush previously believed.

As of mid-2007, Iran had not resumed its nuclear weapons programme even as it was continuing uranium enrichment in defiance of the United Nations Security Council, the National Intelligence Estimate report added.

"Iran has for many years suffered from illegal pressures by some Western powers," ISNA news agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.

Ahmadinejad had several times called on the US to stop politicising the Iranian nuclear issue and let the dossier be returned from the UN Security Council in New York to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna.

The Iranian administration on Tuesday said a US intelligence report published earlier this week justified its claims that Iran's nuclear programmes were solely for peaceful and civil purposes.

Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki welcomed the report as a suitable means to push the West towards revising its stance on Iran's nuclear programme and acknowledging its peaceful nature.

His spokesman, Mohammad Ali Hosseini, also said the report proved that US President George W. Bush's accusations that Iran followed a secret military programme had been baseless.

Iran's government spokesman even demanded compensation from the US for accusations made in recent years by Washington regarding Tehran's nuclear programme.

"The Americans have put a lot of pressure on us and manipulated world public opinion against Iran with their baseless accusations and should therefore pay the price for it," state news agency IRNA quoted spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham as saying.

"The whole world is aware that Iran has not even taken one single step contrary to international regulations and that all nuclear centres in Iran are supervised by the IAEA - the US should therefore start revising its stance," the spokesman added.

State-run news network Khabar commented that the intelligence report had revealed "the biggest US lie" and Washington should now allow the Iranian nuclear dossier to be dealt with by the IAEA only.

Earlier Tuesday, another senior Iranian official said Bush should stop making further accusations against Iran.

"The report is de facto confirming the IAEA report and proved once again Iranian claims that all its nuclear programmes are just for peaceful and civilian purposes," Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of the parliamentary foreign policy and security commission, said.

Boroujerdi told Khabar that the report also neutralized "plots by Zionist (Israeli) circles" in the US that had pushed the White House to put pressure on Iran "with untrue charges which even the US intelligence rejects."