Khamenei: wants non-sectarian Israel, Iran not calling for elimination of Jews
DUBAI – Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says, “Iran is not calling for the elimination of the Jewish people, but believes that people of all religions should decide Israel’s future”, on Friday.
Iran has refused to recognise Israel and has backed militant Palestinian groups, since the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Israel regards Tehran as its main enemy in the Middle East and has long accused Iran of seeking its destruction.
“Calling for the elimination of the state of Israel does not mean the elimination of the Jewish people,” Khamenei told an Islamic conference in Tehran. “It means that the people of Palestine – be they Muslim, Christian or Jewish – should choose their own government.”
The Shi’ite Muslim Khamenei, the ultimate authority on Iranian domestic and foreign policy, has also criticised Western powers for pressuring Tehran over its nuclear programme.
“All nations need peaceful nuclear energy, but Western monopolists seek to keep this energy in monopoly…,” Khamenei has been quoted saying. “Westerners know that we are not seeking nuclear weapons because of our principles and (religious) beliefs.”
Iran has repeatedly denied having sought to build a nuclear bomb, referring to a religious decree issued in the early 2000s by Khamenei which bans the development or the use of nuclear weapons.
U.S. intelligence agencies and the U.N. nuclear watchdog believe that Iran had a covert atomic bomb programme that it subsequently halted.
Iran’s move was the latest in a series of steps through which Tehran has overstepped the limits of its 2015 nuclear pact with world powers, in response to the United States withdrawing from the accord last year and reimposing sanctions.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field.