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. Iran president vows defence of nuclear assets: report
TEHRAN, Nov 11 (AFP) Nov 11, 2009
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed Wednesday that his country would defend its nuclear facilities, while adding that Iran wanted to cooperate over its controversial nuclear drive, state media reported.

"Iran will defend its nuclear assets in line with its national interests," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying by the website of the state television channel.

But he added: "We have entered an era of nuclear agreement and cooperation.

"One of the important questions... is about nuclear cooperation at the international level, whether that be construction of nuclear power stations, reactors or even the presence of Iran in a nuclear fuel bank."

The idea of an international nuclear fuel bank was raised by the United States and the United Nations as a block against moves by the Islamic state to develop a nuclear bomb.

The president added: "Stopping the nuclear programme is now irrelevant and we have arrived at the point where we are cooperating at a top level with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and through it with countries who have this technology."

World powers have proposed a new plan to try and resolve a uranium enrichment standoff with Iran.

A deal proposed by IAEA, calls for Iran to ship most of its known low-riched uranium -- about 1,200 kilogrammes -- to Russia for further enrichment.

The material will then be turned into fuel by France and sent back to Iran for use in a research reactor, in a bid to prevent Tehran further enriching the uranium itself in a suspected drive to develop nuclear weapons.

Iran has still not responded to the proposals.

Many countries suspect Iran aims to produce nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian nuclear energy programme. Tehran insists its programme is for peaceful energy use only.

Russia, which has been an ally of Iran, urged Tehran again on Wednesday to give a prompt and positive response to the UN-drafted plan.

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