Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei today refused to make any changes in Iran’s nuclear program as a first step to end the nuclear standoff. On Friday, the six major powers had asked Iran to freeze its uranium enrichment activities as the first condition to start talks on a new economic and political incentive package for the country.
“Have you not tested the Iranian nation? We will vehemently continue our path and will not allow the oppressors to trample upon the nation's rights,” Khamenei said. “Our enemies assume that by masterminding economic sanctions they can bring our nations to its knees but to no avail.” [IRNA]
On Saturday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in Moscow that Iran’s uranium enrichment would have to be suspended. “Our first condition is the freezing, suspension of uranium enrichment,” Lavrov said. “The view of the six is that Iran must cease enrichment of uranium only for the period in which talks last.” [Itar Tass]
Ayatollah Khamenei’s steadfast support of the country’s current nuclear program does not leave much room for a diplomatic end to the standoff. Russia and China are now pushed to support the West in stopping Iran’s enrichment program.