Iran will not step back from nuclear drive: Khamenei

July 30th, 2008 - 10:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Tehran, July 30 (IANS) Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Syed Ali Khamenei Wednesday said his country was determined to move forward on its path to have nuclear energy and would never step back from that drive, the official IRNA news agency reported. “Backing down one step in the face of the arrogance will encourage it to come one step forward,” Khamenei told a meeting of officials here, referring to the West’s pressure on Iran to halt its controversial nuclear programme.

Stressing that Iran’s position on the issue is correct, the religious leader said it would be wrong and baseless to believe that any retreat by Iran from its position would lead to change in policy of the “arrogant powers”.

Khamenei’s remarks came just three days ahead of a deadline for Iran to respond to an incentive and diplomatic package by the European Union (EU) aimed at persuading Tehran to halt its uranium enrichment activities.

The West, particularly the US, believes that Iran is producing weapons under the cover of its nuclear programme, a charge Iran has denied outright. Iran insists that its nuclear drive is peaceful and meant for generating power.

“They (Western countries) know that Iran is seeking nuclear technology to generate electricity. However, they don’t want to allow it as the technology would empower Iran,” Khamenei said.

He also said that his country has 30 years of experience in resisting the western powers and it would continue on its path paying no attention to thier threats.

“Based on a divine tradition, right will be victorious when its followers keep resistance under all conditions,” he added.

On July 19, Iran held talks in Geneva with representatives of major powers, including EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and for the first time an official from Tehran’s arch-foe the United States, William Burns.

Iran was given until Saturday to give its final answer.

However, Iran has rejected the deadline, saying it only agreed during the Geneva meeting to examine the proposals put forward by the Iran Six - five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.

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