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. Khamenei praises Iran's resistance in nuclear row
TEHRAN, Aug 23 (AFP) Aug 23, 2008
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday praised the country's government for resisting international pressure on the Islamic republic to halt its controversial nuclear programme.

"Some domineering countries and their worthless followers want to get their own way with the Iranian nation, but the nation, the president and the government have stood up to them," he was quoted by state television as saying.

"Adopting an aggressive spirit against world bullies is a sign of the government's loyalty to revolutionary slogans and discourse," it quoted him as saying in a meeting with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his cabinet.

Iran risks a fourth round of UN sanctions for failing to give a clear response to an incentives offer by six world powers in return for halting uranium enrichment, a process to produce nuclear fuel that can also make the core of an atomic bomb.

Iran says it has the right, as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to enrich uranium and insists that its atomic programme is aimed solely at generating energy for a growing population.

The United States, which has been pushing for tougher sanctions, has never ruled out a military option to thwart Iran's nuclear drive.

Ahmadinejad on Saturday dismissed the impact of sanctions, citing last Sunday's launch of a home-produced missile that Tehran says can put a satellite into orbit.

"You have imposed sanctions on us, but today young people in this land do not need your help to have a satellite-carrying missile," he told a rally in the central city of Arak carried live on state television.

"Iran does not need you in any way," he said, vowing to launch the country's first communications satellite soon.

The United States called Iran's missile test "troubling," but a US defence official called it a failure.

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