TEHRAN, Iran – On the eve of a visit by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the United States, Iran’s supreme leader charged Sunday that the United States is falsely accusing the Islamic republic of trying to develop nuclear weapons, state television reported.
The remarks come after President Barack Obama on Thursday canceled a plan for a missile shield in Eastern Europe that was officially intended to thwart possible Iranian attacks. Earlier this month, the U.S. representative to the United Nations nuclear watchdog said that Iran had enough low-enriched uranium to produce one nuclear weapon.
“The U.S. officials who claim that the Iranian missiles are dangerous or that we are seeking to produce atomic bombs know themselves that such statements are false,” said Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. “We fundamentally reject nuclear weapons and prohibit the use and production of nuclear weapons.” Khamenei issued a fatwa, a religious edict, against nuclear weapons five years ago.
Iran is scheduled to join world powers, including the United States, at the negotiating table on Oct. 1, but Iranian officials have said they have no intention of halting their uranium enrichment project, a key demand under three sets of U.N. sanctions. Ahmadinejad is due in New York this week to speak at a gathering of the U.N. General Assembly.