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. Iran accuses West of bullying over nuclear programme
JAKARTA (AFP) Apr 23, 2005
Iran on Saturday hit out at pressure over its controversial nuclear programme, accusing developed countries of bullying to prevent the proliferation of atomic technology.

In a speech to a conference of Asian and African leaders, Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Arif complained of the industrialised world's "illogical" opposition to nuclear and other scientific advances.

"Developing countries have reached great advancements in various scientific areas such as nanotechnology and nuclear energy," Arif said.

"However, unfortunately we are witnessing certain limitations and barriers to stop these countries attaining modern technology."

The United States charges that Iran is using its development of atomic power to secretly develop nuclear weapons, and says Tehran and must be kept from enriching uranium, the first step to nuclear weapons capability.

Enrichment makes fuel for nuclear power reactors but also the explosive core of atom bombs.

Arif called on Asian and African countries to band together to claim what he called the "undeniable right of all developing countries" to gain access to technological advances.

"In fighting against this unfair practice, which is based on vicious political considerations and illogical bullying by certain industrial developed countries, the political unanimity among Asian and African countries can play an absolutely effective role."

Iran is currently involved in lengthy talks with the European Union over its nuclear development, with the EU demanding that the Islamic republic abandon nuclear fuel work to guarantee it will not make atomic weapons.

Iran suspended uranium enrichment last November as a confidence-building measure to start the talks with the EU, which offers Tehran trade, security and technology rewards if it makes the suspension permanent.

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