The head of the Iranian Parliament’s Economic Development Commission says while Iran has the scientific and technological means to produce nuclear weapons, it has no need for such weapons and will never engage in the production of a nuclear arsenal.
The Iranian parliamentary news agency reports that Gholamreza Mesbahi Moghaddam said on Friday that going from 20-percent uranium enrichment to 75-percent uranium enrichment would not be a big leap. He added, however, that Iran will never step in that direction because it is not interested in developing nuclear weapons.
He went on to reiterate recent statements by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, who described nuclear weapon production as “haram” or forbidden by Islam and said: “The production of nuclear weapons as well as keeping and using them are against Sharia.”
“Ever since the nuclear issue has been discusse, it has become the subject of enmities,” the Iranian leader said last month in Mashhad. “They know, however, and do confess that Iran is not after nuclear weapons. And this is the truth. We have our own reasons for having absolutely no interest in nuclear weapons. We have never produced them and will never do so. They know this full well, but it is being used as an excuse.”
U.S. Foreign Secretary Hillary Clinton responded to the Iranian leader’s statements, saying Iran must show concrete proof that its nuclear program has no military component.
Mesbahi Moghaddam went on to say: “Iran’s aim is the peaceful exploitation of nuclear power…. Iran will not succumb to Western pressure and will not give up its nuclear path despite international sanctions, pressure and threats.”
A report by the Washington Post purports that U.S. President Barack Obama has addressed Ayatollah Khamenei’s recent statement and expressed a willingness to accept Iran’s peaceful nuclear program if the country can alleviate international concerns about its nuclear activities.
According to the report: “Barack Obama sent a message to Tehran via Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who delivered it to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei last week. President Obama has signaled Iran that the United States would accept an Iranian civilian nuclear program if Supreme leader Ali Khamenei can back up his recent public claim that his nation will never pursue nuclear weapons.”
Iran and the G5+1 are scheduled to meet on April 14 to pursue talks on nuclear issues. In a recent turn of events, however, Iran has announced that despite earlier statements, it is no longer interested in holding the talks in Istanbul and has suggested Iraq or Syria as the venue for the talks.
Recep Tayyib Erdogan has criticized Iran’s change of heart, saying: “This proposal that is now being talked of, Damascus or Baghdad, is a waste of time because Iran knows that the other side will not agree to come to Damascus or Baghdad.”
Iranian-Turkish relations have suffered in recent days due to their opposing policies regarding the Syrian crisis. While Iran remains a staunch supporter of the Beshar Assad government, Turkey has taken the opposition’s side.