Iran will not retreat "one iota" from its nuclear rights, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Saturday, the day of an informal deadline set by Western officials in a row over Tehran's atomic ambitions.
Ahmadinejad made the remark in a statement posted on the presidential website after talks in Tehran with Syrian President Bashar Assad.
"In whichever negotiation we take part ... it is unequivocally with the view to the realization of Iran's nuclear right, and the Iranian nation would not retreat one iota from its rights," Ahmadinejad's statement said.
It said Assad said that based on international agreements every country, including Iran, has the right to engage in uranium enrichment and possess nuclear power stations.
The West accuses Iran of seeking to build nuclear warheads under cover of a civilian power program. Iran, the world's fourth-largest oil producer, denies the charge.
Western powers gave Iran two weeks from July 19 to respond to their offer to hold off from imposing more UN sanctions on Iran if Tehran froze any expansion of its nuclear work, to get preliminary talks started between the two sides.
That would suggest a deadline of Saturday but Iran, which has repeatedly ruled out curbing its nuclear program, has dismissed the idea of having two weeks to reply.