(Reuters) - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Thursday Iran could not abandon its nuclear programme while the United States was developing new atomic bombs every year, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported.
The Islamic republic says it wants nuclear technology only to cope with booming electricity demand. The EU and the United States suspect it of secretly trying to build nuclear weapons, reports Trend.
"How can the Iranian nation give up its obvious right to peaceful nuclear technology, when America and some other countries test new atomic bombs each year?" Ahmadinejad asked in a speech to a rally in the northwestern city of Namin.
His comments came days ahead of an August 22 deadline Iran set itself to respond to a demand by six world powers that Tehran scraps its enrichment program in return for economic and other incentives. Iran has so far shown no signs it will accept.
"Those states responsible for the atomic bombing of (Japan's) Nagasaki and Hiroshima are now trying to deprive the Iranian nation of its right," the official IRNA news agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying. "Those states should be disarmed."
Tehran has vowed to expand its atomic fuel activities despite a U.N.
Security Council resolution on July 31 demanding it halt nuclear work by August 31 or face the threat of sanctions.
Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, will report to the Council on August 31 to certify whether Iran has stopped atomic fuel activity or not.
"A lot of people are pessimistic. I think we will be moving toward sanctions," said an European Union diplomat in Vienna.
Iran has denounced the July resolution, which demanded that it "suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development."
"The Iranian nation is determined to exercise its inalienable right (to nuclear technology)," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency.
"Such demands and resolutions cannot harm the unity of the (Iranian) people."