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Iran does not plan to produce nuclear weapons, the country's spiritual
Iran does not plan to produce nuclear weapons, the country's spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali-Hamenei said on Iranian television on Tuesday.

"Iran does not seek to produce nuclear weapons - the possession of such arms makes no sense," Ali-Hamenei said. "No sensible nation is interested in building nuclear weapons."

However, he reiterated that the Islamic Republic would continue pursuing nuclear technology to generate electricity, saying, "We will continue moving down this path even if it causes envy among our enemies".

Tehran has dismissed Western suspicions that it is seeking to build nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian nuclear program. The Islamic Republic has also consistently maintained that it has the right to peaceful nuclear research.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said late last year that Iran would gain "a greatness that is 100 times more precious than nuclear energy," if it could withstand pressure from the West over its nuclear program.

The chief of the UN nuclear watchdog expressed regret on Monday over Tehran's reluctance to clarify certain issues regarding its nuclear program and its possible relation to military research.

"It is regrettable that we have not made the progress we had hoped for with respect to the one remaining major issue, namely a clearing up of a range of allegations, as well as the Secretariat's questions concerning a possible military dimension to Iran's nuclear program," Mohamed ElBaradei said.

In a report on Iran in late May the watchdog said the country's alleged studies into making nuclear warheads remained a matter of serious concern, and that Tehran must provide more information on its "missile-related activities".

A report released by the U.S. intelligence community in late 2007 said that Iran had ceased attempts to create a nuclear bomb in 2003. U.S. President George Bush responded that, "Iran was dangerous, Iran is dangerous and Iran will be dangerous if they have the know how to make a nuclear weapon."

When asked if military action remained an option, the president answered, "The best diplomacy - effective diplomacy - is one in which all options are on the table."

Iran is currently under three sets of relatively mild UN Security Council sanctions after defying international demands to halt uranium enrichment, needed both in weapons production and electricity generation.

In April, Iran said it was installing another 6,000 uranium enrichment centrifuges at its underground facility in Natanz, in addition to its current 3,000.


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