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Ayatollah Khamenei: Strong Military Needed to Deter Iran's Enemies


Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says his country must be ready to confront all foreign aggressors.

The ayatollah was addressing members of the armed forces Wednesday. He said a strong military is important to deter what he called his country's "enemies."

In his U.N. General Assembly address Tuesday, President Bush said Iran's rulers are using their nation's resources to fund terrorists, fuel extremism and pursue nuclear weapons.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad responded by defending his country's nuclear program, calling it transparent and peaceful. He criticized countries that already have nuclear weapons for what he called their effort to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear technology.

Iran has ignored a U.N. Security Council deadline of August 31 to stop its work on uranium enrichment, which the West says is intended to develop nuclear weapons.

The United States has been pushing for Security Council sanctions against Iran.

On Tuesday, U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said the United States is willing to give European negotiator Javier Solana more time for talks with Iran about its nuclear program.

He warned that the major powers will support sanctions if Iran does not suspend its uranium-enrichment work.

China and Russia have been reluctant to punish Iran for its nuclear activities.

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