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. Bush laughs off Iran compensation call
OMAHA, Nebraska, Dec 5 (AFP) Dec 05, 2007
US President George W. Bush on Wednesday laughed off Iranian calls for an apology and compensation after a US intelligence finding that Tehran has no active nuclear weapons program.

Asked during a brief visit here about those demands, as well as Tehran's claiming victory because of the report, Bush laughed and told reporters: "You can mark down I chuckled."

Iran has seized on a new US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that found Tehran halted a nuclear arms program in 2003, has not restarted it, and may not be seeking atomic weapons, as fodder to denounce archfoe the United States.

One day after the report's Monday release, Iranian government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham described it as a "confession" and called on the US administration to pay damages for propagating "lies" against Tehran.

Iran has always insisted its nuclear program is peaceful and refused to give into the main Western demand that it suspends uranium enrichment activities, which can be a key step towards building a nuclear weapon.

"US statesmen must apologize to Iranian people who have been upset by their propaganda and psychological warfare," said Elham Aminzadeh, an Iranian lawmaker on the country's national security commission.

"The UN Security Council should lift the sanctions and return Iran's case to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)," she added, reaffirming the government's oft-repeated position.

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