Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday the United States had created the “myth” of nuclear weapons to portray Iran as a threat, hardening his rhetoric before nuclear negotiations resume this week.
Khamenei has supported the talks but has continued to express deep mistrust of the United States. As the highest authority in Iran, the withdrawal of his support could cause the negotiations to collapse.
“They created the myth of nuclear weapons so they could say the Islamic Republic is a source of threat. No, the source of threat is America itself,” Khamenei said in comments cited by the semi-official Fars news agency.
“The other side is methodically and shamelessly threatening us militarily … even if they did not make these overt threats, we would have to be prepared,” he said in an address to military commanders.
A senior commander in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said Sunday that inspectors would be barred from military sites under any nuclear agreement with world powers.
Gen. Hossein Salami, the Guard’s deputy leader, said on state TV that allowing the foreign inspection of military sites is tantamount to “selling out.”
“We will respond with hot lead (bullets) to those who speak of it,” Salami said. “Iran will not become a paradise for spies. We will not roll out the red carpet for the enemy.” Read more at Ynet News.