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Iran's Khamenei rules out freezing nuclear activities

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei has ruled out freezing the country's sensitive nuclear work for a long period. He has asked for sanctions to be lifted "immediately" if a nuclear deal is signed.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei restated his country's red lines for a nuclear deal on Tuesday, during a meeting with president Hassan Rouhani and officials in Tehran. He stressed that economic sanctions imposed by the UN and the United States against Iran should be lifted "immediately" if a nuclear deal is signed.

He added that Iran would not accept inspections at its military sites or "unconventional inspections" of other facilities.

Khamenei ruled out freezing Iran's sensitive nuclear activities: "Freezing Iran's research and development for a long time like 10 or 12 years is not acceptable," he stated in a speech broadcast live.

According to Iranian state TV, he claimed that the United States wanted to destroy the Islamic republic's nuclear industry entirely. "Our negotiators' aim is to safeguard Iran's integrity... and our nuclear achievements during the talks."

In April, Iran and six major powers - the US, Germany, Russia, China, Britain and France - agreed on the main outlines of a deal on Tehran's nuclear activities. The deadline is June 30.

After more than a decade of rising tensions, Iran denies seeking to build atomic weapons, underlining that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes such as meeting the population's energy needs.

das/bw (AFP, Reuters)

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