Iran says no military agenda in nuclear plan
TEHRAN, Iran, Feb 27 (AFP) Feb 27, 2009
Former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said on Friday Tehran's atomic plans were not of military nature, urging Russia to complete Iran's long-delayed nuclear power plant.
"In the Friday prayer sermon, we don't make false promises. Therefore I declare that Iran's nuclear plan is not to build weapons ... and we are ready to prove it in negotiations," he said in a sermon carried live on state radio.
"You are planting a false notion in public minds," the senior cleric said of what he described "unthoughtful words of the main enemies of the Islamic revolution in the past two days after the virtual launch of the Bushehr plant."
On Thursday, outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert issued a thinly veiled warning to Iran after Tehran the latest steps at the Bushehr plant, Iran's first.
"We have deployed enormous efforts to reinforce our deterrence capacity," Olmert said. "Israel will be able to defend itself ... against all threats, against all enemies. I cannot say more but believe me, I know what I'm talking about."
Although the remarks did not mention Iran by name they were clearly aimed at Israel's arch-enemy, the Islamic republic.
Iran's uranium enrichment programme, still underway in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions ordering a halt, is at the heart of Western fears Tehran is secretly trying to build the atomic bomb. Those are charges Iran denies.
On Wednesday, Iran began testing the Bushehr plant, whose construction was in the hands of Russia since 1995.
"The Russians and others should know that ... even if they don't deal with the project, we can complete it on our own. But they must fulfill their promise," Rafsanjani said.All rights reserved. © 2005 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.