Supreme leader denies Iran wants atomic weapons

Supreme leader denies Iran wants atomic weapons
# 20 February 2010 20:09 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Friday Iran is not seeking atomic weapons despite global condemnation after a UN report expressed concern it is trying to develop a nuclear warhead, APA reports citing AFP.

As France and Germany called for fresh sanctions on Iran, the Islamic republic’s envoy to the UN atomic watchdog dismissed as "baseless" the leaked report.

In Moscow Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Riabkov said meanwhile his country is opposed to "crippling sanctions" against Tehran.

Khamenei, the country’s commander-in-chief, said Iran’s religious beliefs meant it was against the use of nuclear weapons. "Recently some Western and US officials have been repeating some outdated and nonsensical comments that Iran is seeking to build nuclear weapons," he said.

"Iran will not get emotional in responding to these nonsensical comments, since our religious beliefs are against the use of such weapons," he told commanders at the launch of Iran’s first domestically made naval destroyer in the Gulf. "We in no way believe in an atomic weapon and do not seek one."

International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano, in a blunt first report to the watchdog’s board of governors on Thursday, expressed concern Iran might be seeking to develop a nuclear warhead. "The information available to the agency... raises concerns about the possible existence in Iran of past or current undisclosed activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile," Amano wrote.

Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran’s envoy to the IAEA, said the documents cited in the report were "fabricated and thus do not have any validity." "I have also said many times that when they showed these documents to us none of the documents had any confidential or secret stamps on them," Soltanieh said.

Soltanieh repeated Tehran’s stance that Iran’s nuclear programme was peaceful, insisting that Iran "will never halt its peaceful nuclear activities nor stop its cooperation with the agency."

Western powers suspect Tehran is enriching uranium to make nuclear weapons, as the material in highly pure form can be used in the core of an atomic bomb. Tehran has been slapped with three UN Security Council resolutions demanding a halt to its controversial uranium enrichment.

The IAEA report raised concern in France and Germany.

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