Middle East

Iran leader says army will be strengthened

Khamenei tells military commanders there will be no decrease in defence capabilities while the US threatens Iran.

Last updated: 19 Feb 2014 13:14
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Foreign leaders are in the middle of a three-day summit to discuss Iran's nuclear programme [AFP]

Iran is building "an economy of resistance" to counter the damaging effects of sanctions rather than "do something to make sanctions be lifted", according to its supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei, as foreign leaders met to discuss the country's nuclear programme.

The comments were posted to his official website on Wednesday, although they were made during a speech on February 8 to air force commanders and personnel.

Khamenei, referring to the US, said: "They threaten Iran, then expect the Islamic Republic to decrease its fighting capabilities. But this is not what we will do. By Allah's favour, different officials, different sectors and the armed forces will increase their defence capabilities on a daily basis."

The new "policies of resistance" would be announced in the future, he said. Sanctions on banking and oil have crippled both economy and society in Iran.

There has been no response from the P5+1 Group - the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany - which is in the middle of a three-day meeting to resolve a decade old dispute over Iran's nuclear activities.

The talks resumed on Wednesday morning and included a session chaired the European Union's Helga Schmid and Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Aragchi.

EU spokesman Michael Mann described Tuesday's talks as "substantive and useful" on his Twitter feed.

This latest round of talks is aimed at finding a long-term agreement, following a short term agreement reached in November. The two sides have until July to find a permanent solution.


Al Jazeera
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