Iran says will go ahead with disputed atomic work

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TEHRAN, Oct 4 (Reuters) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the world could not stop the Islamic state's nuclear programme, which the West fears is a cover to build nuclear bomb, the official IRNA news agency said today.

Ahmadinejad was speaking the day after French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner called on the European Union to take the lead in widening financial sanctions on Iran, saying the world could not afford to wait for UN action to rein in Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

''I announce to the whole world that the Iranian nation has passed the difficult points (on its nuclear path) and no power can stop this nation from making more and more (atomic) achievements,'' Ahmadinejad said.

In a letter to European Union foreign ministers, Kouchner appealed to the 27-member bloc to start exploring new sanctions now.

Last month he also sparked controversy by saying the world should prepare for a war with Iran. Kouchner said his comments were taken out of context.

Iran summoned France's charge d'affaires in Tehran on Wednesday to protest about Kouchner's ''extreme'' remarks.

Six world powers agreed tomorrow to delay toughening UN sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear programme until November at the earliest to wait for reports by UN nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei and European Union negotiator Javier Solana.

The UN Security Council has imposed two sanctions resolutions on Iran, which says its nuclear programme is to make electricity, after it failed to suspend sensitive activities such as uranium enrichment.

The United States has led calls for a third round of sanctions.

REUTERS JK VC2002

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