Cleric Insists on Iran’s Right to Enrich Uranium

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A senior Iranian cleric urged the country’s nuclear negotiators to defend the nation’s inalienable right to have nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, saying uranium enrichment should be part and parcel of any nuclear deal with the world powers.

Cleric Insists on Iran’s Right to Enrich Uranium

“This nation does not bow down to force ... and considers the right to enrichment, and the right to progress in this field (nuclear technology) as its inalienable rights,” Hojjatoleslam Kazem Seddiqi said on Friday, addressing a large congregation of Iranian worshippers in Tehran.

He also called on the Iranian nuclear negotiators engaged in talks with the six major world powers to proceed with the negotiations with "open eyes, undivided attention and increased vigilance," warning them not to trust the enemies of Iran a bit.

This comes weeks after Iran and the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) signed a six-month deal on Tehran’s nuclear program based on which the world powers agreed to suspend some non-essential sanctions and to imposed no new nuclear-related bans in return for Tehran's decision to freeze parts of its nuclear activities and to allow more inspection of its nuclear facilities.

During the half-year period, Iran and the G5+1 are due to negotiate a comprehensive deal with the aim of resolving for good the standoff over Iran's nuclear program after a decade of on-off meetings and failed attempts.

Hojjatoleslam Seddiqi further criticized US officials for their assertion that Iran’s enrichment right was not stipulated in the Geneva deal, and for the talk of military action against Iran as a viable option on their table, shortly after the accord was signed in Geneva.

The cleric noted that Washington’s insincere moves and consultations with the Zionists prove the veracity of the Supreme Leader’s views regarding the United States.

Earlier on October 5, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei said that Tehran does not trust the US officials since they are untrustworthy and act under the influence of the Zionist lobbies.

“We consider the US administration as unreliable, supercilious, illogical and unscrupulous,” the Leader said at the time.

Ayatollah Khamenei had also noted that the US administration is dominated by the international Zionism, bows down to the Zionist regime of Israel and moves in line with the interests of the Zionists.

And in recent remarks, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also underlined Tehran's deep mistrust of the West, the US in particular, and stated that the country will judge the western officials based on their deeds not words.

“I should say that we have no trust in the US and the West, but we judge them based on their practical steps," Zarif told Tasnim in Iran's northeastern city of Mashhad on December 12.

As regards US officials' rhetoric that all options, including military option, are on the US table, the Iranian foreign minister said such comments are not in the interests of the United States, and at the same time have no impact on the resistance of the Iranian nation.

“If the US complies with its commitments practically, then we will continue the work (cooperation) because we have entered the scene with wide-open eyes and good will."

The Iranian top diplomat expressed regret that the US and western officials are under the pressures exerted by influential lobbies and ignore their own countries' national interests.

“Of course we consider such comments as harmful, but their deeds are important for us.”

In related news, Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi said on Thursday that the Iranian nation would not retreat a single step from its inalienable nuclear rights.

“If the western side violates the provisions of the agreement, we will continue on our path and will not back down from our right,” Salehi said in the city of Qom on Thursday.

While remaining committed to its obligations, Iran will not renounce its rights enshrined in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), he added.

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