Iran says it opposes nuclear weapons as official policy laid down by its Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in the wake of controversial remarks by a minister.
“Iran’s position remains unchanged. Iran’s nuclear activities have always been peaceful and will remain peaceful,” foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh tells a news conference.
“The supreme leader’s fatwa banning weapons of mass destruction and nuclear weapons is still valid,” he adds, referring to Khamenei’s religious edict.
The pledge comes a week after Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi said it would not be Tehran’s fault if the country were ever “pushed” toward developing a nuclear bomb.
“Our nuclear industry is a peaceful industry. The supreme leader explicitly stated [that] in his fatwa,” Alavi said in a state television interview broadcast on February 8. “But if a cat is caught in a corner, it may behave differently… If they are pushing Iran in that direction, then it is not Iran’s fault, but those who pushed it.”
Iran has repeatedly denied seeking nuclear weapons, though Western intelligence services agree it sought such weapons at least until 2003, and European leaders recently warned that some recent Iranian actions in the nuclear field, including its work on producing uranium metal, have “no credible civilian use.”