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Iran's leader wants friendly relations with United States

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday Tehran wanted friendly ties with all countries, including the United States, on the day Iran begins a new round of talks with world powers on its disputed nuclear program. "We want to have friendly relations with all nations, even the United States," he told an audience of Basij militiamen. "We are not hostile to the American nation. They are like other nations in the world," he said. "Death to America," the militiamen chanted in response.

Khamenei says 'no retreat' on Iran rights in nuclear talks

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said he will not allow any "retreat" on its rights, ahead of a new round of talks with world powers on Tehran's nuclear programme. "I insist on stabilising the rights of the Iranian nation, including the nuclear rights," Khamenei told militiamen of the Basij force in Tehran, in remarks broadcast live on state television. "I insist on not retreating one step from the rights of the Iranian nation," he added. mod/hc

Iran parliament approves Rouhani's last minister pick

Iran's conservative-dominated parliament on Sunday approved President Hassan Rouhani's nominee for sports minister, filling out the cabinet after rejecting a number of earlier picks, media reported. Mahmoud Goudarzi, currently head of the Faculty of Physical Education and Sports Science at the University of Tehran, received 199 of the 267 votes cast, with 44 opposed and 24 abstaining. Rouhani, a reputed moderate who took office in August, attended the session to defend his nominee, urging parliament to support his administration as it engages in high-stakes nuclear talks.

Exclusive: Reuters investigates business empire of Iran's supreme leader

By Steve Stecklow, Babak Dehghanpisheh and Yeganeh Torbati (Reuters) - Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei controls a business empire worth around $95 billion - a sum exceeding the value of his oil-rich nation's current annual petroleum exports - a six-month Reuters investigation shows.

Rouhani says Iran will not abandon nuclear rights

President Hassan Rouhani said Sunday Iran will not abandon its nuclear rights, including uranium enrichment, media reported a day after a fresh round of talks with world powers. "There are red lines that must not be crossed," Rouhani told the conservative-dominated parliament in remarks quoted by the ISNA news agency. "The rights of the Iranian nation and our national interests are a red line. So are nuclear rights under the framework of international regulations, which include enrichment on Iranian soil," he said.

Khamenei tells Iran's hardliners not to undermine nuclear talks

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran's supreme leader gave strong backing on Sunday to his president's push for nuclear negotiations, warning hardliners not to accuse Hassan Rouhani of compromising with the old enemy America. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's comments will help shield Rouhani, who has sought to thaw relations with the West since his surprise election in June, from accusations of being soft on the United States, often characterized in the Islamic Republic as the "Great Satan".

Khamenei not optimistic but backs Iran nuclear talks

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei voiced his support on Sunday for Iran's talks with world powers over its disputed nuclear programme while expressing pessimism about them. "No one should see our negotiating team as compromisers," Khamenei, Iran's top decision-maker on its nuclear drive, was quoted as saying on his official website. "I am not optimistic about the (nuclear) negotiations but, with the grace of God, we will not suffer losses either," he added. mod/dv

Iran's Khamenei says Israel is 'illegitimate, bastard' regime

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei described arch-foe Israel as an "illegitimate and bastard" regime on Sunday, as he hit out at its alliance with the United States. "The Zionist regime is an illegitimate and bastard regime," Khamenei said in remarks carried by his website. "The Americans have the highest indulgence towards the Zionists and they have to. But we do not share such indulgence," he said. mod/dv

Khamenei not optimistic but backs Iran nuclear talks

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei voiced his support on Sunday for Iran's talks with world powers over its disputed nuclear programme while expressing pessimism about them. "No one should see our negotiating team as compromisers," Khamenei, Iran's top decision-maker on its nuclear drive, was quoted as saying on his official website. "I am not optimistic about the (nuclear) negotiations but, with the grace of God, we will not suffer losses either," he added.

Iran FM 'went to hospital' after 'misquoted' on US contacts

Iran's foreign minister said he went to hospital suffering from back and leg pain after a hardline daily "misquoted" him as saying historic contacts with US leaders had been "inappropriate." Mohammad Javad Zarif said he had been unable to walk after reading the article in the Kayhan newspaper which claimed he had told lawmakers that his meeting with US counterpart John Kerry last month as well as an historic telephone conversation between presidents Hassan Rouhani and Barack Obama had been a mistake.
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