Iran’s Foreign Minister claimed on Friday that the possession of a nuclear bomb would threaten his country’s security.
At the same time, said Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Islamic Republic will not give up its rights.
“We consider [that] the possession of nuclear arms doesn’t conform with the interests of the country and threatens the security of Iran,” Zarif said, according to the AFP news agency.
He added, however that Iranians “will not give up their rights.”
“But we will show the world that there is no threat from Iran. The only threat... is from the Zionist regime,” said Zarif, in reference to Israel.
Israel and Western governments suspect Iran is using its nuclear program as cover to develop a weapons capability. Iran insists it is for peaceful purposes only.
The United States and European Union have slapped the Islamic republic with a raft of economic sanctions in a bid to halt its nuclear drive, and Zarif called for these to be lifted through “rational negotiations”.
“I think Western leaders have not understood the message of the presidential election. They think the government will waive the rights of the Iranian” nuclear program, said Zarif.
“The United States and European countries must understand that the Iranian people will not give up their rights and no government can afford to do it,” he declared.
“But, at the same time, we want to show the world that there is no threat from Iran,” added Zarif.
Zarif was appointed by Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, who has been touted by the West as a “moderate”.
Israel has warned that Rouhani may be a wolf in sheep’s clothing and would take advantage of any relief on sanctions to continue his country’s nuclear program.
Rouhani recently said that Iran was ready for "serious" talks on its nuclear program without delay and that U.S. calls for tougher sanctions showed a lack of understanding.
At the same time he stressed soon after his election that Tehran would not consider halting the country’s uranium enrichment activities entirely.
Rouhani insisted that Iran’s nuclear activities are “within the framework of law,” and dubbed the international sanctions “baseless.”
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)