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Iran will use force to defend nuclear drive: Ahmadinejad

by Staff Writers
Tehran (AFP) Aug 1, 2008
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Friday that his country will use force against its "enemies" to defend its nuclear drive, state television reported.

"For them, subjects like the nuclear issue are pretexts. The key reason for the hostility of the enemies in the past 30 years against Iran is that they want us to pull back so that they can say we have given in," Ahmadinejad said.

"But the Iranian people will resist with force against the enemies," state television quoted him as saying.

The comments came as the United States on Friday set a weekend deadline for Iran to respond to an international offer to freeze its nuclear drive.

"We want and we expect a response this weekend," US State Department acting spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos said.

But an EU diplomat said in Brussels that the European Union is in no rush for a response from Iran.

"There's no real limit," said the diplomat on condition of anonymity after Washington set the deadline. "We're in no rush" to have a response "in the next 24 hours."

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Thursday that there was no deadline and that his country had already replied.

Iran on July 4 handed major powers what it said was its "constructive and creative" response to their offer presented by EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana in June aimed at persuading Tehran to halt sensitive nuclear work.

The package, drawn up by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, offers Tehran technology and negotiations if it suspends uranium enrichment which the West fears could be used to make atomic weapons.

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US axes captain of nuclear ship bound for Japan
Tokyo (AFP) July 31, 2008
The US Navy has fired the captain of the first US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to be stationed abroad after a fire onboard hurt dozens of sailors and raised alarm in host Japan.

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