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Iran Remains Defiant on Nuclear Program


Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says his country will not abandon its right to peaceful nuclear technology, despite a decision by world powers to refer the matter to the United Nations Security Council.

Mr. Ahmadinejad said Thursday Iran may reconsider its cooperation with U.N. nuclear inspectors and its adherence to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Wednesday, six world powers announced they will refer Iran to the Security Council because of Iran's failure to reply to an offer of incentives if it suspends uranium enrichment. Iran says it needs more time.

President Bush says he still believes the nuclear standoff can be resolved diplomatically.

Speaking in Germany Thursday after talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel, Mr. Bush emphasized the importance of "speaking with one voice" about Iran.

Ms. Merkel said other steps will be necessary if Tehran does not respond.

In an interview with German television Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would like Iran to respond more quickly. But he cautioned against pressuring Tehran, saying that could aggravate the situation.

The major powers had asked Iran to reply before the Group of Eight summit that begins Saturday in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The United States, Germany, Russia, China, Britain and France offered the incentives to Tehran on June 6.

The U.S. and others accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons, but Iran says its program is to generate energy.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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