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Iran Vows to Resist Pressure to Drop Nuclear Fuel Program

Sunday, March 13, 2005; Page A24

TEHRAN, March 13 -- Iran defiantly insisted Saturday it would never give up its nuclear fuel program despite a new, united policy of incentives and threats from the United States and the European Union.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran is determined to use peaceful nuclear technology, and no pressure, intimidation or threat can make Iran give up its right," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said.

Tehran officials say Iran's nuclear facilities will only be used to generate electricity and never diverted to weapons production.

The European Union and the United States, which suspect Iran could use its nuclear power program to make atomic bombs, unveiled a coordinated approach Friday aimed at pressuring Tehran to give up sensitive activities such as uranium enrichment, which can be used to make bomb-grade fuel.

Iran dismissed incentives such as WTO membership and freedom to buy civilian aircraft parts as meaningless. Asefi said U.S. restrictions on the sale of aircraft spares to Iran should never have been imposed.

Iran says it can offer the world "objective guarantees" that it will not make atom bombs. These would include measures such as allowing intrusive U.N. inspections of its nuclear sites.

While on a diplomatic trip in Caracas, Iran's president, Mohammad Khatami, said Saturday that Tehran was willing to work with nations seeking to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. "We are not going to give up our rights," Khatami said. "But at the same time we are willing to work with the world to give more security that Iran is not moving toward construction of nuclear weapons."

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