Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

The US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany have failed to reach a breakthrough in talks with Iran on its nuclear programme, agreeing, instead, to set a date for a technical follow-up meeting.

Western leaders believe Iran will use its nuclear energy programme to build weapons although Tehran insists that it will use its uranium enrichment programme for peaceful, domestic use only.

Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused the West and Israel of "acts of sabotage" aimed at slowing down the Islamic Republic's development. The powers that accuse Iran of wanting to build nuclear weapons already have them, he said.

"They are not against atomic bombs because there are people in our region who even lack the legitimacy to govern but Western countries have equipped them with more than 250 nuclear warheads and are firmly supporting them," he said in reference to Israel.

"The Zionists explicitly announce that they possess atomic bombs and use them to threaten nations," he claimed, although Israel has never officially claimed to have nuclear weapons.

"If atomic bombs and their possession are illegal and no country in the Middle East should possess them, [then] why is it that the Israeli regime and the US government as well as certain European countries who have stockpiled thousands of atomic bombs are not opposed?

"Nuclear weapons are a mere pretext in their hands to put Iran under pressure and impede or block our nation's progress," he pointed out.

He reiterated Iran's denial that it would divert its domestic energy programme to build nuclear weapons.