Iran will meet with the United States to discuss nuclear power only if America recognizes the Islamic Republic’s right to pursue its own scientific goals, the Ayatollah said today on his website.
In a speech today in Tehran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei again insisted his country isn’t building a nuclear bomb, but that the US or its allies shouldn’t try to stop it anyway.
“We believe nuclear weapons must be abolished and we have no intention of building (them),” he said, The Associated Press reported.
However, “if Iran had the intention to build nuclear weapons, the US could in no way stop the Iranian nation.”
Western powers have long pushed Iran about its nuclear program in fear the country’s scientists are trying to enrich uranium for weapons. Israel has threatened military intervention.
Iran maintains its nuclear facilities are for peaceful pursuits such as power and medical research.
Talks this week between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect those facilities failed.
“Despite its many commitments to do so, Iran has not negotiated in good faith,” an IAEA representative told Al Jazeera.
Iran is to meet the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany for talks in Kazakhstan on Feb. 26.
Leaders in Iran stand by an edict from the Ayatollah several years ago banning nuclear weapons, Reuters reported.
More from GlobalPost: Nuclear talks between IAEA, Iran fail