‘But if it did, no world power could prevent it from obtaining one’
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said today is not seeking nuclear weapons, but if it wanted to, no country could stop it from doing so.
“We believe that nuclear weapons must be eliminated. We don't want atomic weapons,” Khamenei said.
"But if we did not believe this and decided to have nuclear arms, no power could stand in our way," Khamenei added. (leader.ir, 16 February)
On Friday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the international community risks letting Iran use drawn-out nuclear talks with P5+1 and IAEA as a cover to build a nuclear bomb. Khamenei’s comments today seems in direct response to the Secretary General’s warning.
Note: In the past, Ayatollah Khamenei had issued a religious decree, or fatwa, banning construction of nuclear weapons. The Iranian officials had said that Khamenei’s fatwa was binding on the Islamic Republic. Today, Khamenei did not speak in terms of a fatwa against nuclear weapons, but instead on Iran’s political preference not to join the nuclear club. A settled, but important difference.