Ahmadinejad vows to keep enriching uranium

No offer from world powers can persuade Iran to stop enriching uranium, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said yesterday, dismissing the key demand of countries that fear Tehran is developing nuclear weapons.

A day after the UN atomic watchdog said it had new evidence of possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear work, Ahmadinejad accused it of doing Washington's bidding and said Tehran's atomic advances had "no brake and no reverse gear".

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukiya Amano, said on Monday that the IAEA had received "further information... that seems to point to the existence of possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear programme".

That contradicts Iran's insistence that its nuclear work is for entirely peaceful purposes, and Ahmadinejad made clear his displeasure with the Japanese IAEA chief, who has taken a blunter approach than his Egyptian predecessor Mohamed ElBaradei. "With America's orders [the IAEA] has written some things in a report that are against the law and against the agency's regulations," Ahmadinejad told reporters.

"These have no legal value and aside from harming the agency's reputation it will have no other effect."

Tehran says sanctions imposed by Washington, Europe and the United Nations are not hitting its economy and insists they will not force it to give up what it considers its sovereign right to enrich uranium, a process that can make fuel for power plants or, by enriching uranium more highly, provide bomb material.

"I have said before that Iran's nuclear train has no brake and no reverse gear... We will continue our path," Ahmadinejad said, adding that Iran would continue to co-operate with the IAEA "as long as they move based on justice".