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Khamenei says Iran will not relinquish ‘defensive power, regional presence, nuclear progress’

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during a televised video conference with an audience in the city of Tabriz commemorating the 1979 Islamic Revolution, in Tehran, Iran, on February 17, 2022. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during a televised video conference with an audience in the city of Tabriz commemorating the 1979 Islamic Revolution, in Tehran, Iran, on February 17, 2022. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says Tehran will not bow to pressure to reduce its “defensive power,” regional proxies, and progress in nuclear technology, Reuters reports, citing Iranian state media.

“Suggestions to reduce our defensive power so as to appease the enemy are nothing more than naive and ill-advised… Over time, these flawed proposals have been rebutted, but if they weren’t, Iran would have now faced great threats,” Khamenei is quoted as saying.

“Regional presence gives us strategic depth and more power. Why should we give it up? Scientific progress in the nuclear field is related to our future needs, and if we give that up, will anyone help us in the future?” he adds.

Iran is said to be in the final stages of talks with world powers to revive a 2015 nuclear deal that would lift sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

Israel has warned that funds from an economy freed from sanctions will enable Iran to step up support for its proxies across the Middle East, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group.

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