Iran not seeking a nuclear weapon: Supreme Leader

DUBAI Sat Feb 16, 2013 3:04pm IST

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during the 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran, August 30, 2012. REUTERS/Hamid Forootan/ISNA/Files

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during the 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran, August 30, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Hamid Forootan/ISNA/Files

Related Topics

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran does not want nuclear weapons but if it did, no world power could prevent it from obtaining one, Iran's Supreme Leader said on Saturday, according to Iranian media.

The United States and some of its Western allies suspect Iran may be trying to develop a nuclear weapons capability under the guise of a civilian atomic energy programme, a charge Iran rejects.

Iranian officials have said in the past that a religious decree by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei banning nuclear weapons is binding on the Islamic Republic, and Khamenei has repeatedly said Iran is not seeking an atomic bomb.

"We believe nuclear arms must be eliminated and we don't want to build nuclear arms," Khamenei said on Saturday morning, in comments published by the Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA).

"But if we did not believe this and decided to have nuclear arms, no power could stand in our way," he added.

The United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany are due to meet Iran for talks in Kazakhstan on February 26 to tackle a decade-old row that has already produced four rounds of U.N. sanctions against Iran.

Separate talks between Iran and the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency this week failed to produce a deal on reviving an investigation into Iranian research that could be used to produce nuclear weapons.

Israel, widely assumed to be the region's only nuclear-armed power, has said is ready to take military action to stop Iran developing a bomb, raising fears the standoff could escalate into a war.

(Reporting By Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

FILED UNDER:

Reuters Showcase

India Cricket Chief

India Cricket Chief

Former ICC boss Dalmiya returns as BCCI chief.  Full Article 

S&P on Budget

S&P on Budget

Budget shows commitment to keep fiscal deficit low - S&P.  Full Article 

New Phone

New Phone

Samsung unveils sleek new Galaxy phones to battle Apple.  Full Article 

MH370 Search

MH370 Search

Interview: Australia says hunt for missing MH370 jet may be called off soon.  Full Article 

Blogger's Murder

Blogger's Murder

Bangladesh says arrests main suspect in U.S. blogger Avijit Roy's killing.  Full Article 

England under Fire

England under Fire

Changes demanded after England's latest World Cup flop.  Full Article 

Anti-Putin Rally

Anti-Putin Rally

Anti-Putin protesters rally in New York after Nemtsov's murder.  Full Article 

Brit Awards

Brit Awards

Brit awards shake up British album chart, boost Sam Smith.  Full Article 

Lathmar Holi

In Pics: Lathmar Holi

Images of "Lathmar Holi" at Nandgaon in Uttar Pradesh.  Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage