Khamenei says Iran needs atomic energy

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers Friday prayers sermon, in Tehran, Iran January 17, 2020. (Reuters)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Thursday that Tehran will further develop peaceful nuclear capacity to preserve independence.

Indirect talks between Tehran and Washington have been held in Vienna since April amid fears about Tehran’s nuclear advances, seen by Western powers as irreversible unless agreement is struck soon.

Other parties to the deal, which then U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of in 2018, have been shuttling between Iran and the United Sates. Several sources, including Iranian officials, told Reuters that the next couple of days would be crucial in determining whether gaps could be closed.

“We will sooner or later need peaceful nuclear energy. If we do not pursue it … our independence will be harmed,” Khamenei said in a televised speech, according to Reuters.

He also expressed support for Tehran’s negotiating team in Vienna.

“Diplomatic efforts by our revolutionary brothers in trying to get rid of the sanctions are also good but the main task is to neutralize the sanctions,” added Khamenei, referring to far-reaching sanctions reimposed by Trump and still in place.

Khamenei said Iran has never sought nuclear weapons despite such allegations from the Islamic Republic’s “enemies”, Reuters reported.

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