Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Iran's Ayatollah labels US and UK enemies

Khamenei labels the US and Britain Tehran's main 'enemies' and warns they will fail to isolate Iran over its nuclear issue.

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei lashed out Sunday at the US and Britain, labelling them Tehran's main "enemies" and warning they will fail to isolate Iran over its nuclear issue. "Americans are at the head of the list of enemies and the British are the most awful of them," Khamenei said on state television in an address to thousands of people to mark a major Shiite ceremony. "Americans, Zionists and other oppressive powers tried to isolate Iran for the past 30 years, but they failed and with God's help they will also fail in the future."

Khamenei, Iran's all-powerful leader who has the final say in all national issues, said Western powers led by Washington are lying when they claim Tehran's nuclear programme is aimed at producing nuclear weapons. "We ask them to stop lying and as we have said in the past the Iranian nation is pursuing nuclear technology and if we do not achieve it today, then tomorrow when the world economy is driven by nuclear power we will be late," the cleric said, reasserting that Iran's nuclear intent is entirely peaceful. "The Iranian nation wants to achieve it so that it does not have to beg to Westerners 20 or 30 years later."

He also said that when the "oppressive powers fail to achieve their goal against a country through threats of military action or sanctions, then they start saying that there is a division inside that country. "We have to be careful as the enemy will launch propaganda to say that there is division." Tension over Tehran's controversial nuclear programme has peaked in recent weeks after it rejected a high-profile nuclear deal brokered by the UN atomic watchdog and also announced plans to build 10 new uranium enrichment plants.

World powers object to Tehran's uranium enrichment programme as the process can be used to enrich the material to produce fuel for a nuclear reactor or to make atom bomb. On Saturday, Iran's nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi in fact said Tehran needs 20 uranium enrichment plants to produce fuel enough to generate 20,000 megawatts of electricity. Iran's main flagship enrichment plant is in the central city of Natanz where it processes uranium in defiance of three sets of UN sanctions. It is building a second plant near the Shiite holy city of Qom, much to the dislike of world powers, some of whom have threatened to levy a new set of sanctions on Iran.

But Iranian officials have vowed to continue with the enrichment programme and have dismissed threats of sanctions. * AFP

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greets supporters after his arrival in Zahedan, the regional capital of Sistan and Baluchestan province on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. During Mr Rouhani's two-day visit, he will tour several other cities and hold meetings with local scholars and entrepreneurs. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

On the road with Hassan Rouhani

Iran's president is touring some of Iran's most underdeveloped provinces. Foreign correspondent Yeganeh Salehi is traveling with him.

 The Doha-based Youssef Al Qaradawi speaks to the crowd as he leads Friday prayers in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt in February, 2011. The outspoken pro-Muslim Brotherhood imam has been critical of the UAE’s policies toward Islamist groups, adding to friction between Qatar and other GCC states. Khalil Hamra / AP Photo

Brotherhood imam skips Doha sermon, but more needed for GCC to reconcile

That Youssef Al Qaradawi did not speak raises hopes that the spat involving Qatar and the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain might be slowly moving towards a resolution.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 An Afghan election commission worker carries a ballot box at a vote counting centre in Jalalabad on April 6. A roadside bomb hit a truck carrying full ballot boxes in northern Afghanistan, killing three people a day after the country voted for a successor to President Hamid Karzai. Eight boxes of votes were destroyed in the blast, which came as the three leading candidates voiced concerns about possible fraud. Noorullah Shirzada / AFP Photo

Two pressing questions for Afghanistan’s future president

Once in office, the next Afghan president must move fast to address important questions that will decide the immediate future of the country.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Supporters of Turkey's ruling AKP cheer as they follow the election's results in front of the party's headquarters in Ankara on March 30. Adem Altan/ AFP Photo

Erdogan critic fears retaliation if he returns to Turkey

Emre Uslu is a staunch critic of Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Now, with a mass crackdown on opposition expected, he is unsure when he can return home.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National