Accessibility links

Breaking News

U.S., Iran Spar Verbally Over Tehran's Nuclear Program

Iranian President Khatami (file photo) 11 August 2004 --The United States is renewing accusations that Iran has a secret nuclear weapons program, calling it a threat to stability when combined with Tehran's latest medium-range missiles.

U.S. Deputy State Department spokesman Adam Ereli made the statement at a briefing today in Washington.

It followed Iran's test of an upgraded version of its Shahab-3 missile, which can fly 1,300 kilometers, putting Israel within its range.

Earlier in the day, Iranian President Hojatoleslam Mohammad Khatami insisted that his country's nuclear program is intended to produce energy, not weapons.

After a cabinet meeting in Tehran, Khatami warned against interfering with Iran's right to pursue the program.

"We hope to resolve the issue through justifications, explanations, and calm. But if anyone wanted to deprive us of our right, we and our nation would be ready to pay the price and not to abandon our national right [to pursue a peaceful nuclear program]."

Khatami also said he believes concerns about Iran's nuclear program will be resolved in the next few months and blamed the United States for instigating unwarranted pressure.

"There is no reason to pressure Iran, except for political purposes, and I am sorry to say that it has all come down to the bad behavior of the United States that has been trying to influence others in this regard."

Earlier this month, Iran confirmed it has resumed building centrifuges to enrich uranium, which can be used in energy-producing reactors or nuclear weapons.