France does not believe Iran nuclear claims: presidency

France does not believe claims by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that his country’s nuclear activities are peaceful, President Nicolas Sarkozy’s office said Thursday.

“Ahmadinejad says that the programme is peaceful. Ultimately, we do not believe him. Everyone knows that the programme has military goals,” spokesman David Martinon told a press conference.

“The question is not settled. We have every reason to believe that what is being developed in the plant at Natanz (in central Iran) is not peaceful. We have a string of very powerful clues leading us to that conclusion,” he said.

The Iranian president denied any attempt to seek atomic weapons at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, saying Tehran’s nuclear programme was “peaceful and transparent” and that its standoff with the West was a “closed matter.”

Iran rejects Western charges that it is trying to build atomic weapons under the guise of its civilian nuclear program and insists it is entitled to pursue uranium enrichment as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.