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Iran Lashes Out at France for Remarks on Nuclear Program

Iran's Foreign Ministry has criticized French President Nicholas Sarkozy for saying Iran is working on creating nuclear weapons.

In a statement published by Iran's ISNA news agency Thursday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Ghashghavi said the French president's remarks were in contradiction with the International Atomic Energy Agency's findings.

He said the comments were politically motivated and far from realistic.

Earlier this week, Mr. Sarkozy said French intelligence services are certain Iran is working on nuclear weapons and he raised the possibility of further sanctions against the nation.

Western nations have accused Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons, but Iran insists its nuclear activities are peaceful and not subject to negotiation.

France is scheduled to take part in October 1 talks with Iran, along with the U.S., Britain, Germany, China and Russia.

The White House says Mr. Obama spoke with President Sarkozy on the phone Tuesday to discuss ways of bringing Iran into compliance with its international obligations.

The U.N. Security Council has imposed three sets of sanctions on Iran for refusing to freeze uranium enrichment work that has both military and civilian uses.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said Tuesday Western powers will maintain their strategy of offering incentives to Iran to suspend uranium enrichment and threatening further sanctions if Tehran refuses.

In Vienna Tuesday, Iran's nuclear energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi indicated his government is ready for "deeper cooperation" with United Nations nuclear inspectors. He did not elaborate and the International Atomic Energy Agency did not comment.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.