August 19, 2005

Iran not interested in nuclear arms – Khamenei

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei on Friday reiterated that the Islamic state had no
interest in atomic arms but would never halt its nuclear

Addressing worshippers at Friday Prayers at Tehran
University, Khamenei accused Western officials of misleading
public opinion by suggesting that Iran was secretly building
nuclear weapons.

"They talk as if Iran seeks nuclear weapons and that they
oppose it," he said in a sermon broadcast live on state radio.
"That is lie and they know it. They use it to deceive their own
public opinion.

"There's no talk about nuclear weapons in Iran. We don't
want nuclear weapons," he said.

"They make a propaganda lie about a global consensus
against Iran," he added. "There is no global consensus against
Iran and even if there was, our nation wouldn't abandon its

Iran, which says its nuclear facilities will only be used
to generate electricity, upped the ante in its nuclear standoff
with the West earlier this month, resuming uranium conversion
-- a preliminary step in the process to make fuel for nuclear
reactors or bomb-grade nuclear explosive.

The board of the U.N.'s atomic watchdog has called on Iran
to halt uranium conversion. Iran says it will not and insists
it will soon resume the most sensitive part of the process --
uranium enrichment.

Displaying a grasp of technical issues, Khamenei said Iran
wanted to enrich uranium to a grade useable in atomic reactors
but not to the higher grade needed to make atom bombs.

"We want to produce the fuel for our power plants by
ourselves, and they say don't.

"They say buy the fuel from us. What does that mean? It
means we should stay dependent. They want the Iranian nation to
stay dependent on the powers which produce nuclear power," he

The European Union has called on Iran to resume the
suspension of nuclear fuel activities to build trust, a
suggestion Khamenei rejected.

"I tell them now, you should do something to make us trust
you," he said.

"The Europeans should not talk in a demanding tone. Today
is not like the 19th century ... we are not afraid of anybody.
We have the power to defend our rights and we will not give up
our rights," he said.