'If we wanted to develop nukes - the US couldn't stop us'

Iran's Supreme Leader says US would not be able to prevent Tehran from producing nuclear weapons.

Elad Benari ,

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said on Thursday that his country is not interested in producing nuclear weapons but, even if it were, the US would not be able to prevent Tehran from doing so.

"If [Iran] planned to produce nuclear weapons, America could not do anything,” claimed Khamenei during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, according to The Associated Press.

The Iranian leader also made clear to Abe that Tehran “will in no way repeat” talks with the US, according to the report.

“We have no doubt about your good will and seriousness, but ... I don’t regard [President] Trump as deserving any exchange of messages,” Khamenei told Abe.

The purpose of Abe’s visit to Iran was to discuss trade with Japan and US-Iran relations, after offering US President Donald Trump help in dealing with Iran.

The Japanese premier’s trip to Tehran comes amid increased tensions between Iran and the United States, a year after Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and imposed several rounds of crippling sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Iran announced last month it was suspending some of its commitments under the 2015 deal in response to the US withdrawal in May of last year.

In addition, tensions between the two longtime foes has increased after Washington sent more military forces to the Middle East in a show of force against what US officials say are Iranian threats to its troops and interests in the region.