Iran will attack to defend itself: Khamenei

Tue Mar 20, 2012 2:36pm EDT

EDITORS' NOTE: Reuters and other foreign media are subject to Iranian restrictions on leaving the office to report, film or take pictures in Tehran. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei waves to the media after presenting his identification papers to cast his ballot in the parliamentary election in Tehran March 2, 2012. REUTERS/Caren Firouz

EDITORS' NOTE: Reuters and other foreign media are subject to Iranian restrictions on leaving the office to report, film or take pictures in Tehran. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei waves to the media after presenting his identification papers to cast his ballot in the parliamentary election in Tehran March 2, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Caren Firouz

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(Reuters) - In the face of aggression from the United States or Israel, Iran will attack to defend itself, Iran's most powerful figure, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday.

"We do not have nuclear weapons and we will not build them but in the face of aggression from the enemies, whether from America or the Zionist regime, to defend ourselves we will attack on the same level as the enemies attack us," Khamenei said live on television.

"Americans are making a grave mistake if they think by making threats they will destroy the Iranian nation," he said in his annual speech to mark Nowruz, the Iranian New Year.

Israel and the United States have threatened military action against Iran unless it abandons nuclear activities which the West suspects are intended to develop nuclear weapons.

Further talks between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries are expected to take place next month in an attempt to reach a compromise deal.

The most recent talks between world powers and Iran failed in January 2011 because of Iran's refusal to suspend its sensitive uranium enrichment work, as demanded by several U.N. resolutions and major powers.

It says it has the right to develop a peaceful nuclear program under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

In his speech, Khamenei highlighted the country's nuclear achievements over the last 12 months - increasing uranium enrichment to 20 percent and loading domestically-made fuel rods into the Tehran Research Reactor.

"In a situation where the enemies were putting bets on the fall of the Iranian nation, and talking about the crippling sanctions, Iran has accomplished all these achievements," he added.

The U.S. and its allies have imposed tough new sanctions on Iran since this year which western diplomats say show signs of having a strong effect on the Iranian economy.

Earlier, Khamenei unveiled a national production plan and urged the nation to buy domestically-made goods, saying it would help to defeat sanctions.

(Reporting By Marcus George; editing by Andrew Roche)

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Comments (25)
TomMariner wrote:
Talk, just talk, delaying talk. To be given as much credibility as “We do not have nuclear weapons and we will not build them”. But if we keep you guys talking for long enough, we can act.

Yes the sanctions are hurting, but the leaders would let their people eat dirt and sleep under the stars rather than give up their “rightful destiny” as the ruler of the world. When you’re a religious leader, this earthly stuff doesn’t mean much to you — which is why nobody should allow a cleric to rule a government.

You don’t want to hurt them or their people — they are just acting how their interpretation of their religion says they should, and they really just don’t care. Sure hope their citizens want to rejoin the rest of the world, but Cuba is a great example of a brutal leader who eliminates all opposition and stays in power for as long as they feel like it.

Mar 20, 2012 12:24pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
DFPawlowski wrote:
Parse the language folks and ask yourself this question; Does Iran already have North Korean weapons based on “embassy military mission” labeled soil at its Quds ballistic missile complex. The supreme leader of the Iranian military and Quds missile forces says “We do not have nuclear weapons and we will not build them but in the face of aggression from the enemies, whether from America or the Zionist regime, to defend ourselves we will attack on the same level as the enemies attack us”. North Korea built them and maintains them and they are ready to mount and launch on those 19 medium range ballistic missiles purchased from North Korea. Very plausible scenario and that doesn’t even cover Iran’s interest in “isotopes” (e.g. balotechnic isomer weapons).

Mar 20, 2012 12:32pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
cyberbilly wrote:
Great depression and war is looking too good for Washington fat cats.

Mar 20, 2012 12:34pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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