Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Sunday that there was “nothing wrong” with Iran reaching an agreement related to its civilian nuclear program as long as its infrastructure remains intact.
Khamenei’s comments come after Middle East Eye reported the US and Iran were close to an interim nuclear deal that would see Iran reduce uranium enrichment levels in exchange for some sanctions relief. However, both the US and Iran have denied the claims made in the report.
Khamenei made the comments while visiting an exhibition of Iranian nuclear capabilities. “You may want to reach agreements in some fields. Nothing is wrong with [reaching] agreements, but the infrastructure must remain intact,” Khamenei said, according to Iran’s PressTV.
The Iranian leader also denied claims that Tehran is seeking a nuclear weapon, saying Iran’s “enemies” want to target the country’s nuclear program to limit its development.
“The excuse of a nuclear weapon is a lie, this is not the issue, something else is at play. They know that nuclear advancement will be a key for progress in other issues of the country,” he said.
Iran is currently enriching some uranium at 60%, less than the 90% needed for weapons-grade uranium. Tehran began the 60% enrichment in response to an Israeli attack on the Natanz nuclear facility in 2021.
According to the Middle East Eye report, the US and Iran have been holding talks and were close to an agreement that would involve Iran stopping its 60% uranium enrichment in exchange for some sanctions relief.
A White House official said the report was “false and misleading,” and Iran’s envoy to the UN said an interim deal was “not on the agenda.” Other media outlets, including Haaretz, have reported that some sort of nuclear agreement between the US and Iran was close.