AP: Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Sunday that god would punish Iranians if they do not support the country’s disputed nuclear program, state radio reported.
The Associated Press
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Sunday that god would punish Iranians if they do not support the country’s disputed nuclear program, state radio reported.
“The Iranian people openly announce that they will defend their rights… God will reprimand them if they do not do so,” state radio quoted Khamenei as saying.
The 68-year-old ayatollah, who has final say on all state matters, said Washington’s claim that Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon is false. The Iranian government has long insisted its nuclear activities are only for peaceful generation of fuel.
“They know that Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapon, and they are just trying to block the Iranian nation from achieving advanced technology,” Khamenei was quoted as saying in Tehran.
Earlier Sunday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Mohammad Ali Hosseini, accused the U.S. of intentionally skewing Iran’s nuclear motives.
“Americans know better than anyone, that Iran’s nuclear activity has been peaceful. They would have already provided the (U.N. nuclear) agency with documents” supporting their claim if it were true, Hosseini told reporters.
Hosseini was referring to a New York Times report Friday that the Bush administration agreed to provide the U.N. nuclear watchdog with some documents, allegedly proving Iran’s nuclear weapons activities four years ago.
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohammed Elbaradei, is expected to report soon on Iran’s past nuclear activities.
The U.S. has led the push for a third round of U.N. sanctions against Iran for refusing to halt uranium enrichment, a technology that can be used to produce nuclear fuel or material for an atomic bomb.
Last month, the five permanent Security Council members the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France agreed on a draft resolution for new sanctions.
Iran insisted it would continue enriching uranium because it needed to provide fuel to a 300-megawatt light-water reactor it was building in the southwestern town of Darkhovin.
Iranian officials have said they plan to generate 20,000 megawatts of electricity through nuclear energy in the next two decades.
Iran has defied U.N. demands, and Washington’s effort to impose harsher measures has been complicated by a U.S. intelligence report and resistance from Russia and China.