ahmadinejad un 224 88.
(photo credit: AP [file])
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed Friday that Iran will not negotiate over its "nuclear rights" but said the government was prepared to answer questions from the UN nuclear watchdog agency.
On Wednesday, French diplomatic officials said Iran is set to run almost 3,000 centrifuges by the end of the month, nearing the threshold for industrial-scale uranium enrichment.
Ahmadinejad said Iran has already achieved proficiency in the whole nuclear fuel cycle, from extracting uranium ore to enriching it, and that Teheran has removed any hurdles in the way of its nuclear progress.
"The Iranian nation favors talks but it won't negotiate over its definite and legal nuclear rights. They (world powers) have to know this," Ahmadinejad said in comments before Friday prayers in Teheran.
In a setback for the United States, Iran won a two-month reprieve from new UN Security Council sanctions over its nuclear program last month. The Bush administration and its European allies ceded to Russian and Chinese demands to give Teheran more time to address international concerns.
The US and some of its allies accuse Iran of seeking to build nuclear weapons but Teheran has denied the charges, saying its nuclear program was geared toward the peaceful generation of electricity.
Ahmadinejad's comments came after French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner said Friday that his nation respected Iran and would continue dialogue with Teheran over its disputed nuclear program.
"Iran is a country which we respect and it has to abide by international agreements. Our negotiations will continue," Kouchner told a news conference during a visit to Turkey.