Washington: Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said his country was not seeking nuclear weapons, but added that if it ever decided to build them, no ‘global power’ could stop it.
Khamenei, whose 2005 edict banning nuclear weapons is regarded as binding in Iran, told a group of visitors to his home in Tehran that his country favoured the worldwide elimination of nuclear weapons.
He said that they believe that nuclear weapons must be eliminated, adding that ‘they don’t want to build atomic weapons. But if we didn’t believe so and intended to possess nuclear weapons, no power could stop us’, the New York Times reports.
According to the report, American officials have said that they believe Khamenei exercises full control over Iran’s nuclear program.
But on Thursday, he rejected direct talks with the United States while it was ‘pointing a gun at Iran’, and on Saturday he elaborated on the issue.
He called on the United States to show ‘logic’ while talking to Iran, without further elaborating, the report said.
According to the report, he and other Iranian leaders have often emphasised that before any talks can take place, Western sanctions must be lifted and the West must respect what they say is Iran’s right to a nuclear program monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Khamenei said that this was the only way to interact with the Islamic republic of Iran, and in that case the US administration would receive a proper response from Iran.
He pointed to American-devised sanctions, to which a new set of measures was added this month, as the prime example of why negotiations between Iran and the United States would fail, the report said.
According to the report, Iranian oil sales have been reduced by half as a result of the international pressure on Iran, and restrictions on financial transactions and transportation have created many difficulties for Iran’s leaders.
Consumer prices have increased, and the national currency has fallen sharply. Still, shops are fully stocked, restaurants are serving customers, and the construction of buildings and roads continues.
He said that they naïvely think that the nation has been exhausted by the sanctions and will therefore yearn for negotiations with the US, it added.