Rouhani slams ‘criminal’ Israel, says Iran doesn’t need nukes
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Rouhani slams ‘criminal’ Israel, says Iran doesn’t need nukes

President says the bomb has not made Western countries safer; calls Israel a 'usurper'

Lazar Berman is a former breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivers a speech in Tehran, June 3, 2014. (photo credit: AFP/ATTA KENARE)
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivers a speech in Tehran, June 3, 2014. (photo credit: AFP/ATTA KENARE)

Iran does not need a nuclear weapon, nor has the bomb kept rival countries safe, said the country’s president Wednesday.

In a pugnacious speech in Isfahan, a major city in the country’s center, Hassan Rouhani said that Iran is a “great, sacrificing, and unified nation,” and therefore has no need to build atomic bombs, The Guardian reported.

The city is home to a number of nuclear research and uranium conversion facilities.

Rouhani also attacked Israel, calling it a “criminal.”

“Have you managed to bring about security for yourselves with atomic bombs? Have you managed to create security for the usurper Israel?” he asked.

Rouhani did not mention talks between Western powers known as the P5+1 and Tehran.

An Iranian worker at the Uranium Conversion Facility at Isfahan, 410 kilometers, south of Tehran. (photo credit: AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
An Iranian worker at the Uranium Conversion Facility at Isfahan, 410 kilometers, south of Tehran. (photo credit: AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

The US and other nations negotiating with Tehran have long suspected Iran’s nuclear program is secretly aimed at atomic weapons capability. Tehran insists the program is entirely devoted to civilian purposes.

Rouhani also mocked the US for failing to provide healthcare for all its citizens.

According to State Department officials, US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Munich, Germany, on Saturday to discuss the ongoing nuclear negotiations.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official wasn’t authorized to discuss Kerry’s plans before they were formally announced.

The meeting with Zarif comes as an end-of-March target date for a framework nuclear deal approaches. Kerry and Zarif last met one-on-one in Geneva in January.

AP contributed to this report. 

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