Iran’s supreme leader rejects nuclear weapons allegations

June 3rd, 2008 - 5:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Tehran, June 3 (DPA) Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tuesday the country’s nuclear work would continue but he rejected allegations that Iran is pursuing a secret nuclear weapons programme. “We will continue our work to eventually gain full nuclear technology, whether the West likes it or not,” the Ayatollah said in a speech at a ceremony in the Ayatollah Khomeini mausoleum in southern Tehran.

Speaking on the occasion of the 19th anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic republic, Khamenei rejected allegations by the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), on Iranian nuclear weapons-related work in the past.

“Iran has several times announced that we are not after nuclear weapons and just pursue a peaceful programme. This (allegations) is simply a lie,” said the Ayatollah, who as successor to Ayatollah Khomeini, constitutionally has the final say on all state matters.

IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei said Monday it was “regrettable” that the IAEA has not made the progress his organization had hoped for in clarifying indications that Tehran’s nuclear programme had a military dimension.

“Pursuing a nuclear weapons programme would be both against our Islamic principles and against any kind of rationality as nuclear weapons never made any country really powerful,” Khamenei said.

He accused the United States of coming up with such allegations as US statesmen could not frankly voice their opposition to Iran’s international rights to pursue a civil nuclear programme just like any other signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The IAEA’s doubts over Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons-related work have caused anger in Iran and parliament speaker Ali Larijani even indicated that Tehran might revise cooperation with the UN body.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, however, Monday said that Iran would continue its cooperation with the IAEA for the time being despite the doubts.

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana is to deliver soon an upgraded incentive package to the Iranian Foreign Ministry as another effort by the West to persuade Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment programme.

Although the Islamic state has said that no incentives could make it stop its uranium enrichment process, Tehran still wants to evaluate the latest package by the UN veto powers plus Germany.

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