TEHRAN - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad underlined the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program, reiterating that the future of the world will be made by culture and not nuclear bombs. The Iranian president made the remarks addressing a meeting of culture ministers of the Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) in Tehran on Tuesday. "The future of the world does not depend on atomic bomb, missiles and military hardware, but the cultures of nations," President Ahmadinejad said. Iran says its nuclear program is a peaceful drive to produce electricity so that the world's fourth-largest crude exporter can sell more of its oil and gas abroad. The US and its western allies allege that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program while they have never presented corroborative evidence to substantiate their allegations against the Islamic Republic. Tehran also stresses that the country is pursuing a civilian path to provide power to the growing number of Iranian population, whose fossil fuel
would eventually run dry. Iran is under three rounds of UN Security Council sanctions for turning down West's calls to give up its right of uranium enrichment, saying the demand is politically tainted and illogical. Iran has so far ruled out halting or limiting its nuclear work in exchange for trade and other incentives, saying that renouncing its rights under the NPT would encourage world powers to put further pressure on the country and would not lead to a change in the West's hardline stance on Tehran. Iran has also insisted that it would continue enriching uranium because it needs to provide fuel to a 300-megawatt light-water reactor it is building in the southwestern town of Darkhoveyn as well as its first nuclear power plant in the southern port city of Bushehr. Tehran has repeatedly said that it considers its nuclear case closed as it has come clean of IAEA's questions and suspicions about its past nuclear activities. Analysts believe that the US is at loggerheads with Iran due mainly to
the independent and home-grown nature of Tehran's nuclear technology, which gives the Islamic Republic the potential to turn into a world power and a role model for other third-world countries. Washington has laid much pressure on Iran to make it give up the most sensitive and advanced part of the technology, which is uranium enrichment, a process used for producing nuclear fuel for power plants. The 1st meeting of ACD culture ministers opened here yesterday. Culture ministers from 32 ACD member states are reviewing cultural interactions during the two-day event. The ACD was formed in June 2002 in Cha-Am, Thailand, where 18 Asian Foreign Ministers met together for the first time. The ACD is a continent-wide forum, the first of its kind in Asia. More specifically, the ACD aims to constitute the missing link in Asia by incorporating every Asian country and building an Asian Community without duplicating other organizations or creating a bloc against others. The ACD member states include Iran, Thailand,
Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Japan, South Korea, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, The Philippines, Singapore, Cambodia, Brunei, Mongolia, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Qatar, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, UAE and Bahrain.