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Iran: Nuclear weapons "a great sin"

Iran's leadership indicated that it thinks the possession of nuclear weapons is "a great sin."

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Iranian Minister for Foreign Affairs Ali Akbar Salehi spoke at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on February 28, 2012, calling the possession and use of nuclear weapons "a great sin." (FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

As tensions ratcheted up between Iran, Israel and the United States, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi called nuclear weapons “a great sin” on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

Speaking at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, Salehi said, “I would like to re-emphasize that we do not see any glory, pride or power in the nuclear weapons, quite the opposite based on the religious decree issued by our supreme leader, the production, possession, use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, are illegitimate, futile, harmful, dangerous and prohibited as a great sin.”

Just last week, the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency said the mission to inspect key sites and records in Iran was thwarted when Iran blocked access, according to The Washington Post.

The IAEA said, “Intensive efforts were made to reach agreement on a document facilitating the clarification of unresolved issues in connection with Iran’s nuclear program, particularly those relating to possible military dimensions. Unfortunately, agreement was not reached on this document.”

More on GlobalPost: Confidential IAEA report states 'serious concerns' about Iran's nuclear power

At that time, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated on his website that owning a nuclear weapon is “vain, harmful and dangerous,” using language similar to the foreign minister.

The Los Angeles Times also noted on Feb. 23 that US intelligence officials do not believe Iran is pursuing the development of an atomic bomb, though the research it is pursuing could put it in the position to build one. A national intelligence estimate from 2011 concluded that Tehran stopped developing a nuclear warhead in 2003, and though uranium enrichment has continued in the country, US officials maintain their stance.

Salehi reiterated the “peaceful nature” of Iran’s nuclear program, saying that the best way to deal with Iran was through engagement, according to The New York Times.

American Ambassador Laura Kennedy said Salehi’s comments stood in “stark contrast" to Iran's failure to comply with international obligations, reported The Times.

More on GlobalPost: Has Israel's regional isolation helped protect its economy?

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/120228/iran-nuclear-weapons-great-sin