At a gathering of leaders of developing countries in Tehran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated that Iran will never develop a nuclear bomb, but will continue the pursuit of peaceful nuclear energy.
Khamenei was speaking at a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), attended by leaders and delegates from 120 member countries.
NAM was established in 1961 by countries wishing to counterbalance the dominance of the U.S. and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The group normally meets once every three years, but the two-day summit was called to discuss the crisis in Syria as well as nuclear disarmament and human rights. Egypt's new President, Mohammed Mursi is in attendance, marking the first visit to Iran by an Egyptian leader since 1979.
Reuters reports that Khamenei told the gathering, "Our motto is nuclear energy for all and nuclear weapons for none. Iran will never pursue nuclear weapons but it will not give up its national right to peaceful nuclear energy."
The high-level summit is being hosted in Iran on August 30 and 31, as that country wishes to push back against attempts by the U.S. to isolate Iran economically and politically over its nuclear activities. Strident economic sanctions are currently in place against the Islamic Republic.
The West, including particularly the U.S. and Israel, suspects that Iran is developing a nuclear bomb, but this accusation is firmly dismissed by Tehran.
He said, "They (the United States) talk of human rights when what they mean is Western interests. They talk of democracy when what they have is military intervention in other countries."
Khamenei's speech also criticized the UN Security Council, calling it "illogical, unjust and a defunct relic of the past" that the U.S. uses "to impose their bullying manner on the world."
"The UN Security Council has an irrational, unjust and utterly undemocratic structure, and this is an overt dictatorship," he said.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was also present at the summit, and told Khamenei to take concrete steps to prove Iran's nuclear program is peaceful.
Iran's Foreign Minister, Ali-Akbar Salehi, has said that the Iranian president has permitted Ban to visit the country's nuclear sites.
Salehi was quoted by the Mehr news agency as saying, "“Mr. Ban Ki-moon also can visit nuclear facilities if he wishes. The president has given the permission for his visit."
Mehr news agency reports that in a meeting between Ban and Khamenei, the leader stated, “Do not show leniency toward any power in regard to the issue of nuclear disarmament and properly use the opportunity that has been provided to you."
“The Islamic Republic of Iran insists on (its) stance (regarding the establishment of) a Middle East free of nuclear weapons, and the United Nations should make serious efforts to allay the current concerns about nuclear weapons,” he added.
Khamenei further said, “Unfortunately, the (structure) of the United Nations is flawed, and the most tyrannical powers in the world, which possess nuclear weapons and have a record of using them, have dominated the United Nations.”