Iran needs up to 15 nuclear plants to generate electricity, its foreign minister said on Saturday, underlining Tehran's determination to press ahead with work the West suspects is aimed at making bombs.

Manouchehr Mottaki, addressing a security conference in Bahrain, also cast further doubt on a U.N.-drafted nuclear fuel deal meant to allay international concern about the Islamic Republic's nuclear ambitions.

First I think we could just totally abandon the whole thing or we could propose something more moderate, a kind of middle way ... Iran has done that, he said.

Iran has sought key amendments to the proposed deal, under which it would send out a large part of its low-enriched uranium stockpile and receive fuel for a medical research reactor in return.

Iran, the world's fifth-largest crude exporter, says its nuclear programme is aimed at generating electricity so that it can export more of its gas and oil.

We need 10 to 15 nuclear plants to generate electricity in our country, Mottaki said. Iran curently has one nuclear power plant, under construction by Russia. (Reporting by Raissa Kasolowsky and Frederik Richter; writing by Fredrik Dahl)