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Rowhani: Iran won’t accept ‘nuclear apartheid’

The Iranian president says his country does not seek nuclear weapons

Published: Updated:

Iranian President Hassan Rowhani said on Sunday his country has nothing to offer except transparency in nuclear talks with world power.

Rowhani said Iran does not seek to produce nuclear weapons, in remarks made during a speech aired live on state television.

"We have nothing to put on the table and offer to them but transparency. That's it. Our nuclear technology is not up for negotiation," Rowhani said.

“Iran will not retreat one step in the field of nuclear technology... we will not accept nuclear apartheid,” he said.

Rowhani’s comments come ahead of a new round of talks between Iran and the world powers, which start Tuesday.

The self-declared moderate president has faced a battle from domestic critics of his diplomatic outreach since taking power last August.

The world's leading powers have long suspected that Iran is developing the capability to build an atom bomb, an allegation that Tehran has repeatedly denied.

Hardliners accuse Rowhani of making concessions for little gain under talks that have started to reverse the political isolation Iran grappled with under his hardline predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

In November, Iran agreed to cap its uranium enrichment in exchange for sanctions easing. It is now negotiating a final deal over its contested nuclear program.

[with AFP and AP]