TEHRAN: Iran is "never seeking nuclear weapons" and will not give up its right to develop nuclear energy, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told a summit of non-aligned countries that opened in Tehran Thursday.
"I insist that the Islamic Republic of Iran is never seeking nuclear weapons," Khamenei said, rebutting Western and Israeli suspicions his country was engaged in pursuing such a goal.
He called the use of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction "a major and unforgiveable sin."
Khamenei also said that "we will never give up the right to peaceful nuclear energy," underlining Iran's determination to push ahead with its atomic programme.
Addressing Western economic sanctions designed to pressure Iran on the nuclear issue, he said: "Sanctions -- which those who babble call 'paralysing' - not only do not and will not paralyse us, but have made our steps steadier and elevated our resolve and boosted our confidence in our assessments," he said.