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Iran secure with missiles, centrifuges -agency

Written by: Staff

TEHRAN, Nov 19 (Reuters) An Iranian judicial official said today Iran should not fear its enemies because it has built guided missiles and nuclear centrifuges, part of a programme Tehran has always said is peaceful, Fars News Agency said.

Iran's prosecutor general, Qorbanali Dorri-Najafabadi, who is also a cleric, did not spell out a link between the missiles and centrifuges, which the West believes Iran has been building to make bombs, a charge Tehran denies.

He told Fars, a semi-official news agency: ''Now we have every kind of weapon at our disposal. We have guided missiles using liquid and solid fuel. Our second generation centrifuges have been activated by Iranian experts, and we move ahead every day for the country's independence, what fear do we have of our enemies?'' It is unusual for Iran's military capabilities and its nuclear programme to be mentioned together. Iranian officials, who insist the nuclear programme is peaceful, are careful to ensure they never make any link.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's highest authority with the final say in all matters of state, including the nuclear issue, has said in a religious decree that atomic bombs are against Islamic beliefs.

But Iran has defied UN demands to rein in its atomic work and now faces possible sanctions.

Iranian officials have said Iran has carried out research on but has not used advanced centrifuges, which would enrich uranium faster than the existing ones it operates.

Iran has two centrifuge chains, each with 164 machines that can make fuel for power stations or material for warheads. With such a number, it would take years to make one warhead.

But Iranian officials say the Islamic Republic wants to install 3,000 centrifuges by March, a number which could produce enough material for at least one warhead in a year -- if they were spinning without interruption.

The UN watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, has a list of queries it says need answering to determine if Iran's plans are peaceful, including queries about research into new centrifuges. Iran says it is working transparently.

Iran has missiles in its arsenal with a range of 2,000 km (1,250 miles), putting its sworn enemy Israel in range. Iranian officials have also said its weapons can hit the whole Gulf, an area where the United States, another foe, has military units.

In comments today, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad renewed a call for nuclear disarmament worldwide.

''Iran wants nuclear weapons disarmament all around the world, including the Korean peninsula,'' Ahmadinejad told visiting North Korean parliamentary speaker yesterday, the official IRNA news agency reported.


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