As Iranian and Russian engineers began loading fuel into Iran's first nuclear power plant on Saturday, Iran's hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promised a global response if his country is attacked, in an interview with Qatari daily Al-Sharq.
"Our options will have no limits... They will touch the entire planet," he said Saturday in response to a question about Tehran's reaction in the event of such an attack.
Iran's arch-foes the United States and Israel have never ruled out military strikes against Tehran to halt its nuclear program which they and other Western powers suspect is aimed at making weapons.
Tehran denies the charge, saying its atomic program has purely peaceful goals.
"I believe that some think about attacking Iran, especially those within the Zionist entity (Israel). But they know that Iran is an indestructible bulwark and I do not think their American masters will let them do it," Ahmadinejad said.
"They also know that the Iranian response will be hard and painful," he added.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Darby Holladay told AFP the reactor "underscores that Iran does not need an indigenous enrichment capability if its intentions are purely peaceful."
"We recognize that the Bushehr reactor is designed to provide civilian nuclear power and do not view it as a proliferation risk," Holladay said.
The UN Security Council in June slapped its fourth set of sanctions on Iran over its refusal to halt its uranium enrichment work.
Ahmadinejad stressed that his country would still agree to a nuclear fuel swap and accused the West of thwarting the agreement Tehran had reached with Brazil and Turkey in this regard.
The Iranian leader denied that Hezbollah or any of the Palestinian factions take orders from Iran, but added that Iran would "defend all factions and groups that fight the Zionist entity."
According to Ahmadinejad, Iran was not affected by the fresh economic sanctions against it, saying his country's economy is strong.
AFP and AP contributed to the report
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