IRAN: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says nuclear program aimed at 'awakening the spirit' of Muslim world
Iran's top leader said his nation's nuclear program was not aimed at making weapons but at bolstering the spirit of the Islamic world.
"We only seek to awaken the spirit of dignity in the whole of the Muslim community," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in comments Friday.
Khamenei wasted little time in responding to the International Atomic Energy Agency's latest report on the Islamic Republic's nuclear program, released Thursday.
In a ceremony loaded with symbolism in the Persian Gulf port of Bandar Abbas, Khamenei boarded the latest addition to the Iranian navy's fleet, the destroyer Jamaran, and insisted it was the U.S. and not Iran stirring up trouble in Middle East.
"U.S. officials are angry and disappointed with the Iranian nation," he said in comments posted on his website, Khamenei.ir. "Their meaningless and obsolete remarks about the alleged development of atomic weapons in Iran show well the enemies of the nation are even incapable of fabricating fresh propagandistic phrases."
Iran, he said, did not want an atomic bomb: "As we have said many times, our religious convictions and precepts prohibit development of such genocidal weapons. That is why we don't believe in atomic weapons and bombs and we don't seek to make them."
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton recently visited American allies in the Gulf, with rallying support to counter Iran her No. 1 goal. Khamenei blasted attempts to sow discord between Iran and its southern neighbors.
"The Americans and some Western governments are falsely alleging that Iran is taking action against its neighbors," he said.
"Our neighbors know well these allegations are utter lies and the U.S. and the Zionist regime are trying to divert attention of Muslims away from the archenemies of Islam – the U.S. and Israel," he said. "The regional countries are our brethren and neighbors, and we believe that the Persian Gulf region can serve all regional nations if it is run by collective wisdom."
The 120-person Jamaran, the first Iranian- made destroyer and possibly the most advanced Iranian warship ever made, will patrol the Persian Gulf.
"Today is a sweet, blessed and promising day and this is an important achievement," Khamenei said of the warship.
"Before the revolution, bullying powers were engaged in pillaging Iran," he said. "But today they are no longer in position to plunder Iran's interests and resources, and they are infuriated."
Upper photos: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, at left, walks alongside the Iranian destroyer Jamaran. Credit: Khamenei.ir
Lower photo: The Jamaran at sea. Credit: PressTV