In a televised address marking the 23rd anniversary of the death of Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, Khameini also warned Israel against any attack on Iran, saying it would receive a "thunderous blow".
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Khamenei – who has total command over Iran's nuclear policy – has publicly forbidden the development of nuclear weapons, but Western nations suspect that Tehran is developing in isolation each of the components required for an atomic bomb capability.
Khamenei (Photo: Reuters)
"What Americans and Westerners do is idiotic. They magnify the nuclear issue to cover up their own problems," Khamenei said, referring to the continuing economic gloom in the US and Europe.
"They are deceitfully using the term nuclear weapons," he added.
Iran's supreme leader said Israeli talk of military strikes showed it felt vulnerable after the fall of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a US and Western ally, last year. "If they take any calculated action, they will receive a thunderous blow."
On Saturday, a senior military commander said Iranian missiles could reach all parts of Israel and threatened US bases in the region if Iran was attacked.
Iran maintains he will not give up its rights to establish a peaceful nuclear program but has at times appeared flexible to curbing high-grade uranium enrichment that is the West's most pressing concern.
Another round of talks has been scheduled for June 18-19 in Moscow.
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