Moscow has officially offered Iran on Saturday to move its uranium enrichment programme to Russia.

The Russian Embassy in the Iranian capital, Tehran, handed over a formal note containing the offer to the Iranian authorities, according to a statement issued by the Russia's Foreign Ministry. "An earlier Russian offer to Iran to establish a joint Russian-Iranian enrichment venture in Russia remains valid", the ministry added.

Iran insists on preserving its right to peaceful enrichment of uranium to produce nuclear fuel domestically, ignoring international opposition, and U.S. efforts to curb its atomic programme.

The U.S., backed by Israel and the EU, accuse Iran of covertly trying to develop a nuclear weapons program, although the Islamic republic had on many occasions asserted that its nuclear programme is aimed at peaceful purposes, mainly producing electricity to meet the country’s rising need for energy.

The EU big states; Britain, Germany and France suggested shifting Iran's uranium enrichment program to Russia, to ensure that nuclear material would be enriched only to fuel levels and not to weapons grade.

But the offer was rejected earlier this month by Gholamreza Aghazadeh, head of the Atomic Organisation of Iran.

Russia's Foreign Ministry says the offer represents a "Russian contribution into the search for mutually acceptable solutions in the context of settling the situation around the Iranian nuclear programme by political and diplomatic means".

During earlier negotiations which broke off in August, EU diplomats representing Britain, France and Germany offered Iran trade and security incentives to suspend its nuclear program.

Yesterday, Hojatoeslam Ahmed Khatami, Iran’s newly appointed Friday prayer leader said that the Iranians will defend their country’s right to nuclear technology, under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, to their last drop of blood, the AFP reported.

"The Westerners should know that during the eight years of imposed war, the Iran-Iraq war 1980-88, we did not give up an inch of our land so in the matter of nuclear energy they should know that our people will defend it to their last drop of blood," Hojatoeslam said during Friday’s sermon.

Khatami, also a member of the Assembly of Experts, which selects the supreme leader and supervises his activities, was appointed last week by Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

"We are not any seeking special status for ourselves, nor will we accept any oppression. As the signatory of Non-Proliferation Treaty we have been committed to it, and according to it we have rights and we will not give up our legitimate right," IranMania quoted the Iranian cleric as saying.