Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said on Saturday that Iran has no plan to develop nuclear weapons, the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA) reported.
"We regard production of weapons of mass destruction as contrary to our religious, human and national principles," Vahidi was quoted as saying.
"Manufacturing nuclear weapon is not and has never been on our agenda," he added.
Vahidi also lashed out at the remarks of U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates that Arab countries should enhance its military cooperation with Washington to counter Iran's nuclear threat, according to Iran's English-language satellite channel Press TV.
"Since the beginning of the Iranian nuclear case, Washington has misjudged the situation, drawn up a wrong strategy and tried to feed it to other states in the region," Vahidi said.
"By maneuvering on a deterrent strategy against Iran, the United States is trying to take full control of the military power of regional states," he added.
In a Monday interview with the Al Jazeera news channel, Gates said Iran may spark an arms race and "potentially a nuclear arms race" in the entire region if it proceeds with a nuclear weapon program.
"One of the pathways to get the Iranians to change their approach on the nuclear issue, is to persuade them that moving down that path will actually jeopardise their security, not enhance it," the U.S. secretary of defense said.
"So the more that our Arab friends and allies can straighten their security capabilities, the more they can strengthen their co-operation, both with each other and with us, I think sends the signal to the Iranians that this path they're on is not going to advance Iranian security but in fact could weaken it," he said.
The United States and other Western countries claim that Iran intends to secretly develop nuclear weapons. The UN Security Council also requires Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment activity.
Iran, however, insists that its nuclear plan is only for peaceful purposes, vowing to continue its uranium enrichment activity despite pressure and sanctions from Western countries.
(Xinhua News Agency September 13, 2009)