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Iran's Ahmadinejad Dismisses Sanction Talk as Weak


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has dismissed talk of new sanctions over Iran's disputed nuclear work as a sign of weakness by those making the threat.

Speaking on state television Thursday, Mr. Ahmadinejad said Tehran will continue its nuclear work. He said a report this week by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) clearly stated that his nation's nuclear activities are peaceful.

The IAEA said it was at an impasse with Iran over an investigation into Tehran's suspected nuclear weapons work.

The report prompted several nations, including France and the United States, to raise the idea of another set of sanctions against Iran.

Mr. Ahmadinejad said the IAEA had overstepped its mandate in pursuing the investigation, saying the agency is not authorized to put accusations by other governments on its agenda.

In addition to the report noting Iran's non-cooperation on several issues, diplomats say the IAEA has evidence suggesting Iran tried to modify a long-distance missile to carry a nuclear weapon, a charge Iran denied.

The United States plans on discussing the report Friday with representatives from China, Russia, France, Britain, and Germany ahead of possible further meetings next week on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

Mr. Ahmadinejad will address the Assembly next week. During his speech today, he said he would be free to talk to the U.S. presidential candidates. He said a meeting with U.S. President George Bush, who is near the end of his term in office, would have no impact.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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