Iran needs up to 15 nuclear plants to generate electricity, its foreign minister said on Saturday, underlining Tehran's determination to press ahead with a programme the West suspects is aimed at making bombs.
Manouchehr Mottaki, addressing a security conference in Bahrain, also cast further doubt on a U.N.-drafted nuclear fuel deal meant to allay international concern about the Islamic Republic's atomic ambitions.
"First I think we could just totally abandon the whole thing or we could propose something more moderate, a kind of middle way ... Iran has done that," he said , Reuters informs.
"We need 10 to 15 nuclear plants to generate electricity in our country," Mottaki said.
His comments came as Washington hinted Friday it was ready to push for new sanctions against Iran, stressing that new measures are likely now. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, while in Iraq, stated world powers soon would agree on "significant additional sanctions," Al-Bawaba reports.
According to Chicago Tribune, the Obama administration signaled its intention Friday to push for punitive new sanctions against Iran, warning across a broad front that tough measures are likely and urging reluctant nations not to circumvent them.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, meanwhile, warned in Washington that Latin American countries, in particular, will face "consequences" if they "flirt" with the Islamic Republic.
At the United Nations, top U.S. diplomats, including U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, joined European officials in accusing Iran of smuggling weapons to Syria, in breach of a U.N. arms export ban.