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. Iran's armed forces vow ready to 'defeat the Great Satan'
TEHRAN (AFP) Mar 31, 2005
Iran's armed forces vowed Thursday they would defend the country's nuclear ambitions, warning "Great Satan" the United States that it faced certain defeat if it decided to attack.

"Brave Iranians, disregarding the yells of the White House and arrogant media, will not hesitate for a moment in pursuing their objectives in various fields including nuclear energy," said a statement from the hardline Revolutionary Guards.

"With alertness and iron-like will, (Iran) will inflict serious and repeated defeats on the Great Satan's camp," said the statement carried by the student news agency ISNA.

The United States accuses Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons and has not ruled out using force against Tehran, which insists its nuclear programme is for peaceful energy purposes.

In a separate statement to coincide with Friday's Islamic Republic Day -- which marks the 1979 referendum that saw an Islamic republic established -- Iran's armed forces also vowed that they would "not disperse in the face of threats from the world's arrogance (the United States)."

The command also declared the "complete readiness of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Armed Forces, under the leadership of the supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei, for a full defence of the sacred system of the Islamic Republic and its valuable achievements".

A defence ministry statement also spelled out its support of the "foundations of the sacred system of the Islamic Republic."

Britain, France and Germany are spearheading an effort to persuade Iran to renounce its suspected bid to develop a nuclear bomb in return for trade, technology and security benefits.

The latest round of EU-Iran talks ended in Vienna last week with no signs of movement, amid European demands that Iran scrap its uranium enrichment programme -- a process that can make fuel for nuclear reactors but also the core of a nuclear bomb.

In its latest proposal, Iran has offered to limit its enrichment activities to a small number of centrifuges, but President Mohammad Khatami revealed late Wednesday that this would just be a temporary phase pending the full resumption of enrichment.

While the EU-3 are reported to be examining the Iranian offer, the US has rejected it and repeated its demand that Iran "should answer all of the International Atomic Energy Agency's outstanding questions".

"If Iran were really serious about allaying the concerns of the international community, they would stop denying IAEA full and unrestricted access to suspicious sites," Deputy State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said Wednesday.

"We and the EU-3 remain united in the view that only a full cessation and dismantling of Iran's sensitive nuclear fuel cycle pursuits can provide the kind of confidence we're looking for that Iran has abandoned its nuclear weapons program," he added.

The United States joined the European effort to try to wean Iran off its nuclear hopes after earlier pushing to take the matter before the United Nations for possible sanctions. Washington has also not ruled out using force.

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