West's "rusty" weapons won't defeat Iran - president

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TEHRAN, Nov 21 (Reuters) Iran's president told his Western foes today their ''rusty and disabled weapons'' could never defeat the Islamic Republic in a deepening dispute over Tehran's atomic ambitions.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's comments, at a rally in the northeastern city of Ardebil, appeared to refer mainly to sanctions and other diplomatic tools of pressure rather than military hardware.

The United States accuses Iran of seeking to build atomic bombs and that, if the country succeeds, it could threaten world peace.

Washington says it is committed to finding a diplomatic solution, but has not ruled out military action if that fails.

''The enemies of the Iranian nation ... have no hope of victory,'' Ahmadinejad said.

''The enemies' weapons against the Iranian nation are rusty and disabled,'' he added.

Iran says its activities are peaceful and that it wants only to generate electricity so that the world's fourth-largest crude producer can export more of its oil and gas.

Western powers are considering further sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme.

''The American administration must know that it is facing a united and invincible nation,'' Ahmadinejad said in the speech that was broadcast live on state television.

REUTERS RJ RN1820

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