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Ahmadinejad Says Nuclear Suspension Part of Western Propaganda

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has again rejected calls to suspend his nation's nuclear program, saying Western nations would use such a move as propaganda.

Mr. Ahmadinejad told students in Tehran Saturday that any suspension of nuclear enrichment would be portrayed by the West as a surrender. He vowed to continue, in his words, protecting Iran's right to a nuclear program.

Western nations say the program is intended to develop nuclear weapons. Iran says it is for peaceful purposes.

Earlier this week, European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana met Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, to discuss the dispute.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is to speak in coming days with her counterparts from other world powers to discuss that meeting. France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany will take part in the consultations.

Earlier Saturday, the U.S. Congress passed a bill that would apply sanctions on companies or individuals providing materials for Iran's weapons programs. The bill now must be approved by President Bush to become law.

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