Sanctions against Iran will serve only to deepen the Persian Gulf country’s antipathy toward the West without harming its scientific advances, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said.
“We should relentlessly continue our progress in the fields of politics, science and technology,” Khamenei, the highest authority in the country, said in a speech aired live today on state television. “Sanctions can’t hamper the Iranian nation’s progress and will only deepen its hatred towards the West.”
Iran is at loggerheads with the U.S. and its allies over its nuclear program. Iran maintains the work is civilian and intended to generate power and for medical research. As a result of its nuclear activities, the country has come under financial, trade and energy sanctions imposed by the United Nations, the U.S. and the European Union.
Negotiators from the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, China and Russia plan to meet their Iranian counterparts on June 18 and June 19 in Moscow. It will mark the third attempt in three months to address western nations’ concerns that Iran’s atomic energy program may be a cover for secret weapons work.
The U.S. is “magnifying” Iran’s nuclear issue in the media, said Khamenei, who was speaking outside Tehran at an event commemorating the death of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The U.S. administration describes Iran’s nuclear program in “deceitful” terms, diverting public opinion from problems at home, he said.
Khamenei also warned Israel against military undertakings, saying that any “wrong steps” from its side would result in “thunder” from Iran.
Israel says Iran aims to destroy the Jewish state and has threatened a military strike if negotiations and sanctions fail to halt Iran’s nuclear activities.
The Iranian government has portrayed the country’s nuclear program domestically as a sign of the country’s independence and resistance in the face of world powers.
“Iran has proven that without reliance on the U.S. or other powers, and even despite being an enemy of the U.S., a nation can achieve genuine progress,” Khamenei told supporters gathered for the event.