TEHRAN - Iran is determined to proceed with its nuclear programme despite international concern, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has insisted, the state news agency IRNA reported Monday.
"The Islamic republic will continue on the reasonable path which will result in the peaceful use of nuclear energy without concerning itself about all this fuss and bother," Khamenei told Iranian ambassadors at a meeting in Tehran Sunday, the agency said.
Khamenei, without whose approval no official decision can be taken, stressed the need for Iran to convince the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of its intentions as the UN body has been investigating Iran's nucelar programme for more than a year.
"But the means of winning their confidence must be based on reason," he added.He also recalled the outraged reaction in the West to the news that Iran was to resume manufacturing of parts for centrifuges to enrich uranium, underlining that such production "does not contravene any (international) agreement".
Despite suspicion from abroad, Iran has always insisted that its nuclear programme is entirely for civil purposes but since 2003 the IAEA has pointed the finger at the country's lack of cooperation in helping confirm that it is not secretly developing atomic weapons. The UN body intends to reopen its debate on Iran next month.
"It is we who should be making demands, not the West," Khamenei said, "and we should be challenging the oppressors in areas like human rights, the rights of minorities, the fight against terrorism, women's rights, the ban on weapons of mass destruction and in the sphere of nuclear energy.
"The strategic objectives and the general framework of the country's foreign policy are the same as they were 25 years ago" when the Islamic Republic came into being, he affirmed.