Iran has dismissed a proposal by U.S. presidential candidate John Kerry, that Tehran be provided nuclear fuel if it agrees to give up its fuel-making capabilities.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said Sunday it would be "irrational" to abandon its nuclear technology in exchange for supplies from overseas. He said there is no need for Iran to "beg" from other countries.

During a debate last week with President Bush, Mr. Kerry suggested supplying Iran with nuclear fuel for generating electrical power, echoing a proposal made by several western European nations. The Bush administration and some international observers have accused Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons. Iran insists its nuclear program, including work on enriching uranium, is only for peaceful purposes.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has demanded Iran freeze its uranium enrichment activities. Iran has refused.