Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi on Saturday renewed Iran's insistence that it has no ambitions to develop an atomic bomb as world powers sought urgent talks on its latest proposals to allay concerns.
"We regard production of weapons of mass destruction as contrary to our religious, human and national principles," the Fars news agency quoted Vahidi as saying.
"Manufacturing nuclear weapons is not, and has never been, on our agenda."
Vahidi is wanted by Argentina in connection with a deadly 1994 bombing against a Jewish center in Buenos Aires but was unanimously approved as defense minister in a vote of confidence in parliament last week.
His comments came as six world powers – Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States – considered new proposals handed over by Iran on Wednesday to delay Western concerns about the real purpose of its nuclear program.
Washington has already expressed disappointment with the proposals. "It is not really responsive to our greatest concern," assistant secretary of state for public affairs, Philip Crowley, told reporters on Thursday.
The UN Security Council has given Iran repeated ultimatums to suspend uranium enrichment, the process which produces nuclear fuel or, in highly extended form, the fissile core of an atomic bomb.
But on Friday, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei insisted once again that the regime would not bow to international pressure over its nuclear program.
The Security Council has adopted three sets of sanctions against Iran over its failure to heed the ultimatums.