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Ahmadinejad: Iran is 'Nuclear Country'

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad listens to a question during his press conference in Tehran, Iran, 29 Nov 2010

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has declared Iran a "nuclear country."

In a speech at the northern Iranian city of Karaj on Tuesday, Ahmadinejad also said Iran is ready for "honest talks" with world powers at an upcoming meeting in Turkey over its disputed nuclear program.

He said Western political and economic pressures have failed and left Iran nuclear independent.

The comments come as Iran and the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, as well as Germany, are set to engage in another round of talks in late January.

In the speech, Ahmadinejad decried international sanctions and said they have only strengthened Iran.

The U.N. Security Council imposed a fourth and tougher round of sanctions on Iran in June after Tehran refused to halt sensitive nuclear activities.

The U.S. and its allies suspect Iran is pursuing weapons under cover of its nuclear program. Iran denies the charge, saying its program is for peaceful means.

Iran held a first round of talks with officials from the U.S., China, Russia, France, Britain, Germany and the European Union in Geneva earlier this month.

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

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