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Teheran hints at nuclear developments
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16:31, April 08, 2008

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Iran yesterday ruled out halting or limiting sensitive nuclear work in exchange for trade and other incentives from major powers and instead suggested it may announce new developments in the program this week.

Iran marks its National Day of Nuclear Technology today, an occasion President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad used last year to proclaim industrial uranium enrichment capacity.

Enriched uranium can be used as fuel in nuclear power plants or, if refined much further, provide material for weapons.

This morning Ahmadinejad will visit Iran's key uranium enrichment plant, state radio said, without giving details.

Japan's Kyodo news agency on Friday quoted Ahmadinejad as rejecting in an interview the reported new package of incentives.

"Any incentive that calls for the suspension of enrichment or somehow undermines or limits the Iranian nation's nuclear rights ... is rejected by the Iranian government and is unacceptable," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini told a weekly news conference yesterday.

Ahmadinejad will attend an event in the capital Teheran this evening to celebrate Iran's nuclear achievements.

Diplomats in Vienna last week said Teheran was installing advanced enrichment centrifuges at the underground complex in central Iran, accelerating activity that could give it the future means to make atom bombs.

Asked about the centrifuges report, Hosseini said any news about the nuclear work will be announced today.

US request for talks

Iran said yesterday it had received a request from the United States, its old foe, for a new round of talks on ways to improve security in Iraq and was considering it.

Easing a diplomatic freeze lasting almost three decades, Iranian and US officials met three times in Baghdad last year, but a planned fourth meeting has been repeatedly postponed.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry also voiced support for Iraq's US-backed Prime Minister, Nuri al-Maliki, in his crackdown on militia and suggested Teheran had played a role in efforts to end fighting in its neighbor last month.

Maliki's action was aimed at "confronting illegal armed groups" and this was in the interest of Iraq and its neighbors, Hosseini said.

But he hit out at the role of US forces during the fighting, blaming them for the deaths of civilians.

He was speaking as Maliki raised the stakes in his showdown with followers of Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, saying they would be barred from elections unless their militia disbands.

Source: China Daily/Agencies

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