Iran has inaugurated a new phase of a nuclear facility, just days ahead of a United Nations deadline that requires Tehran to halt uranium enrichment.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke Saturday at the inauguration of a heavy water plant southwest of Tehran. He said the country will not be deprived of its right to nuclear technology.
He said Iran's nuclear activities are not a threat to anyone, not even Israel .
The heavy water produced by the plant will cool an eventual nuclear power station at the site. But plutonium will be a byproduct of the power plant and can be used for atomic bombs.
Iran says the nuclear facility is for generating electricity, but Western nations believe Tehran is working to build atomic weapons.
In Israel, a former defense minister, Ephraim Sneh, said the heavy water plant marks "another Iranian leap" toward a nuclear bomb.
On Friday, Iranian officials said Tehran is ready for international talks on its nuclear program, but it has refused to halt its nuclear enrichment activities.
A U.S State Department spokesman, Gonzago Gallegos, said Washington will push for sanctions if Iran does not halt the sensitive nuclear work by the August 31 deadline.
But Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov says it is premature to talk about sanctions, calling for more time to resolve the dispute through negotiations.
Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.