Middle East

Iran will never succumb to Western pressure, Khamenei says

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, center, parliament speaker Ali Larijani, right, chief of Expediency Council, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, second right, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, second left, and judiciary chief Sadeq Larijani, left, listen to Iran's national anthem, at the opening session of the Nonaligned Movement, NAM, summit, in Tehran, Iran. (AP Photo/Office of the Supreme Leader)

TEHRAN/ISTANBUL: Iran will never bend to pressure exerted by the world’s big powers, even if they become “angry” at its defiance, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a speech published on his official website Wednesday.

Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, meanwhile, reported progress in talks aimed at restarting failed negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear program, calling them “positive and fruitful” a day earlier.

The Islamic Republic “does not accept the demands of any superpower,” Khamenei told an audience of military personnel and their families in the speech delivered Tuesday in northern Iran, according to his website,

Iran “makes its decisions solely based on the interests of its people and the country, even if all of the world’s powers get angry at its decisions,” he said.

Khamenei also accused Western and Israeli media of playing up the pain of sanctions against his country’s economy and urged Iranians to ignore such reports.

“Drawing a black and dark picture of the country’s situation is the known method of Western and Zionist media aimed at halting the Iranian nation’s path,” he said.

The five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia) plus Germany, are negotiating with Iran to curb its disputed nuclear program.

The Security Council and the West have imposed successive sanctions on Iran to force it to comply. Iran denies Western allegations its nuclear program includes any military ambitions.

Following talks with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton Tuesday, Jalili said the two had assessed some “common points” reached by technical teams looking into the issue and had discussed “what can be done for a new cooperation.”

“We discussed common points found by the experts and technical teams ... so that they may be brought closer together and that a framework for future talks can be drawn,” Jalili said.

The EU said Ashton would brief the U.S. and five other world powers next week in New York about her efforts to restart negotiations.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 20, 2012, on page 9.




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