Iran will not back down on nuclear energy

CARACAS, Sep 5 – President Hugo Chavez, who arrived in Tehran on Friday, said in remarks rebroadcast on Venezuelan television that Iran will "not back down" in its quest for peaceful nuclear energy.

Chavez, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s main ally in Latin America, arrived in Iran after visiting Syria, Libya and Algeria. He is later scheduled to go to Belarus, Russia, Turkmenistan and Spain.

The visit comes one day after Ahmadinejad said that Iran will not bow to pressure in meeting any deadline set by world powers and is ready for more sanctions over its nuclear program.

Leading world powers fear that Iran is using its civilian nuclear program as a cover to build nuclear weapons. Tehran insists the program is peaceful.

"We are certain that Iran, as it has shown, will not back down in its effort to obtain what is a sovereign right of the people: to have all the equipment and structures to use atomic energy for peaceful purposes," Chavez said in Tehran.

"There is not a single proof that Iran is building … a nuclear bomb," Chavez said. "Soon they will accuse us of also building an atomic bomb" in Venezuela, Chavez added.

Venezuela is working up a preliminary plan for the construction of a "nuclear village" with Iranian assistance in Venezuela, "so that the Venezuelan people can count in the future with this marvellous resource for peaceful uses," Chavez said.

The United States and five other world powers — Britain, China, Russia, France and Germany — pressed Iran on Wednesday to accept an offer of face-to-face nuclear talks before a key UN meeting.