Iran ready for talks but can’t accept threats: Khamenei

July 16th, 2008 - 8:56 pm ICT by IANS  


Tehran, July 16 (IANS) Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Wednesday said that his country was ready for talks over its nuclear programme but would never accept any threat from the so-called world powers, the official IRNA news agency reported. “Nuclear technology has been achieved by our own local experts and belongs to the whole nation and no power can block us from pursuing this technology,” the Iranian leader said in a meeting with officials in Tehran.

“Iran has decided to take part in negotiations but it will not accept any threat,” Khamenei was quoted as saying by the news agency.

“Our stance as well our red lines in the nuclear talks are clear and should be respected by the relevant side as a basis for the talks,” said the the supreme leader, who constitutionally has the final say on all affairs of state.

Khamenei’s comments came days ahead of a crucial meeting between Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili and European Union’s foreign policy chief Javier Solana to discuss the new package that offered Tehran more incentives in order to suspend its controversial nuclear programme. The meeting is due to take place in Geneva Saturday.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has already said that Tehran would never compromise its rights to have nuclear power and not accept the demand to suspend its enrichment activity, which the US and other Western countries believe is a cover to produce nuclear weapons.

However, Iran insists that its nuclear programme is of peaceful purpose and designed to generate electricity.

Reacting to the recent Israeli and US threats of attacking Iran’s nuclear sites, the supreme leader warned them not to toy with the idea as it would result in serious consequences for them.

“If somebody should be so stupid and attack Iran, then our reply will be practical and very decisive - we will cut the hands off the aggressors,” Khamenei said.

“Certain people claim the US president might in final months of his tenure take an action and leave the trouble for incoming government; that’s wrong, because any body taking an action will be prosecuted and punished by Iranian nation even if is not in the post,” he said in an apparent warning to the next US government.

Khamenei also gave a strong backing to Ahamadinejad whose comments on nuclear issue sparked controversy even inside the country.

He said that the president is responsible for speaking about the nuclear issue and whatever he says are the result of consensus opinion of the leaders of the country.

Last week, Iran fuelled tensions by staging a military exercise in the Gulf during which it test fired several medium and long-range missiles, including a Shahab-3 missile that could hit Israel.

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