TEHRAN, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- Iranian president said Wednesday that Tehran is developing nuclear technology for civilian purposes and will not retreat one iota from its right to develop nuclear technology for peaceful use.
"Iran has never sought nuclear weapons and will not do so as this is the fatwa (religious decree) of the leader and also our country's commitment," Hassan Rouhani was quoted as saying by Press TV, referring to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Iran is not seeking Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) either, since Tehran has joined all international conventions banning the use of such arms, he said, adding that, however, Tehran will not back down from developing peaceful nuclear technologies.
"All those countries that sought nuclear bombs did it secretly, and achieved it secretly," he said, adding that Iran's nuclear program has been under the eyes of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
If Iran intended to develop nuclear bombs, it would not be a signatory to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and would not allow the IAEA to inspect its nuclear sites, he emphasized.
"We, as a country which persistently insists on defending its rights, will not budge an inch on our rights as we won't allow an inch of our territory to be encroached upon," he said.
"We have never launched aggression against any country and have no intention of doing so, whatsoever," Rouhani added.
He said the Iranophobia campaign conducted by the West managed to present a false image of Iran, adding that his administration has been assuring the world that "the Islamic Republic of Iran is after nuclear technology but not nuclear bombs."
"This is the foundation for our negotiations with the P5+1 group, the West and the world's big powers," he was quoted as saying.
Earlier, Iran's nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi emphasized his country would not dismantle the nuclear infrastructure which has been developed for civilian use.
After almost a decade of deadlock in the talks over Tehran's disputed nuclear program, Iran and six world powers agreed in November to take preliminary steps to solve the long-standing issue.
The interim deal signed in Geneva on Nov. 24 envisages a partial freeze of Iran's nuclear program in exchange for limited lift of sanctions against Iran's economy. It was announced Sunday that world powers and Iran will start to implement the deal on Jan. 20.
On Tuesday, Rouhani said that the "Geneva nuclear deal broke the sanction regime that had been imposed against the Iranians unfairly."
"By Geneva deal, the world accepted the peaceful nuclear technology of Iran which has been achieved through the hard work of the young Iranian students," he said while addressing a gathering in Iran's southwestern city of Ahvaz.
The president said the government is determined to lead the country out of the current status. Rouhani's words were an allusion to the economic hardship suffered by the majority of the Iranians under the international sanctions.
"National interests is the factor for regulating our relations with the world," he said, adding that it is the task of the government to defend the interests and rights of the people.
When Iran was ruled by former hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the West imposed numerous sanctions on its oil and energy sectors, banking and financial systems, auto and petrochemical industries, which led to a dramatic depreciation of Iran's rial against foreign currencies.
The new administration, however, has pledged to interact constructively with the world and to negotiate over the country's controversial nuclear program. World leaders have welcomed the moderate policies of Hassan Rouhani.
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The agreement on the date was reached after coordination between Iran and the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany, Iran's official IRNA news agency reported Sunday. Full story