The government said Wednesday it would be “extremely deplorable” if Iran has successfully enriched uranium and joined the club of nuclear powers, as Tehran claimed the day before.

“It is extremely deplorable if it is true that Iran has succeeded in the enrichment as announced . . . as it goes against messages of the U.N. Security Council, the International Atomic Energy Agency board and other parties concerned,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said at a news conference.

Tokyo intends to continue cooperating with the international community in urging Iran to dispel concerns about its nuclear ambitions, while maintaining friendly relations with the nation and pursuing the Azadegan oil development project there, he said.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday his country has enriched uranium for the first time and urged Western countries to refrain from trying to force it to abandon uranium enrichment.

Iran says its nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes.

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