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. Iran calls Sarkozy nuclear claims 'baseless'
TEHRAN, Sept 5 (AFP) Sep 05, 2008
Iran on Friday dismissed as baseless remarks by French President Nicolas Sarkozy that Tehran was pursuing its contoversial nuclear programme for military purposes.

Sarkozy's comments, made on Thursday during a visit to Iran's regional staunch ally Syria, are "baseless," foreign ministry spokesman Hassan Ghashghavi said in a statement received by AFP.

"Nuclear weapons are not part of Iran's defence doctrine," he added.

Sarkozy warned Iran that its determination to press ahead with its programme of uranium enrichment risked provoking an Israeli military strike.

"Iran is taking a major risk by continuing the process of seeking nuclear technology for military ends," the French president said at a four-way summit in Damascus with the leaders of Syria, Qatar and Turkey.

Iran has consistently denied that its nuclear programme is aimed at making an atomic weapon, and says it wants only to generate energy for its growing population.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has always, along with other nations, wanted nuclear disarmament in all countries and the destruction of their arsenals," Ghashghavi said.

The United States and its staunch ally Israel -- the Middle East's sole if undeclared nuclear armed nation -- have never ruled out taking military action against Iran, which they accuse of seeking to make a nuclear bomb.

Iran has repeatedly vowed that any attack will be met by a crushing response.

Tehran risks a fourth round of UN sanctions over its failure to abide by international calls to freeze uranium enrichment, a process which makes nuclear fuel but can also be used to build the core of a nuclear weapon.

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