TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran will press ahead with its nuclear program, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday, making clear the Islamic Republic would not bow to Western pressure and halt sensitive atomic work.
“Iran is not after nuclear weapons. It is after peacefully using nuclear energy … we will follow this path and … will reach it,” Khamenei said in a speech broadcast live on state television.
World powers have prepared an enhanced package of trade and other incentives for Iran if it suspends its most sensitive nuclear activities, something Tehran has consistently refused to do.
European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana is expected to travel to Tehran soon to submit the package.
The United States accuses the Islamic Republic of seeking to develop nuclear arms. Iran denies the charge but its refusal to suspend sensitive nuclear work has prompted three rounds of U.N. sanctions since 2006.
Khamenei was speaking a week after the U.N. nuclear watchdog said in a report that Tehran’s alleged research into nuclear warheads was a matter of serious concern and that it should provide more information on its missile-related work.