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Iran able to defend itself from US military attack: ambassador

AFP | September 1 2006

Iran is able to defend itself from any US military attack designed to force it to cease its nuclear activities, its ambassador in France said Friday.

"If they (the Americans) go that way, we will be forced to defend ourselves. We are capable of defending ourselves and confronting any sort of threat," ambassador Ali Ahani told France-Info radio.

Ahani said Iran was "not at all worried" about a US offensive, though he added that "we are insisting on solving things by negotiation and through diplomacy."

The ambassador's defiant tone reflected that of leaders in Tehran, who Friday said they would not halt Iran's nuclear programme.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said Thursday that Iran was continuing with uranium enrichment despite an ultimatium from the UN Security Council to stop.

The United States fears Iran will use its nuclear programme -- ostensibly for civilian energy generation -- to build an arsenal.

US President George W. Bush said Thursday "there must be consequences for Iran's defiance, and we must not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon."

Washington is pushing for UN sanctions on Iran but China and Russia have been reluctant to implement punitive measures.

Ahani said the UN resolution demanding an end to Iran's uranium enrichment was "unjust" and asserted that Iran -- a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty -- respected international rules.

He added that Iran was going to explain to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan its point of view when the latter visits Tehran on Saturday.

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