TEHRAN, Iran – Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday his country would continue to acquire nuclear technology and challenge what he called "Western fabrications."
Speaking to a crowd of thousands in Semnan, a city 250 kilometers (155 miles) east of Tehran, Khamenei said most countries believe that "nuclear energy should be taken away from the hands of a few powers," state media reported.
"The Americans open their mouth and close their eyes and say whatever they want, such as 'the world opposes enrichment,"' Khamenei said, referring to Iran's enrichment of uranium which the United Nations has said must cease.
"No," Khamenei replied, addressing the United States, "it is you who do not know and does not see the world."
"In a glorious way, the Iranian nation — with awareness, an informed generation and reason — has challenged Western fabrications and will go ahead strongly," Khamenei said.
The supreme leader, whose word is final on key decisions, spoke the U.N. Security Council powers continued to wrangle over how to respond to Iran's refusal to obey the world body's demand that it halt uranium enrichment until the full scope of its nuclear program has been verifiably established.
The United States and its European allies fear that Iran could use enrichment to build nuclear weapons, and have proposed a raft of sanctions to try to curb the country's nuclear development. Russia and China share those concerns, but seek much softer measures to induce Iran's cooperation.
Last week, Russia said it would only support U.N. sanctions on Iran if they were for a limited time and included a clear mechanism for their removal.
Iran, which has praised Moscow for its "softer policy," denies plans to build atomic bombs, saying it is merely trying to harness nuclear energy to generate electricity.
On Wednesday, Khamenei accused the United States of aggravating the nuclear issue.
"Today you see they are trying to create hype in the world," Khamenei said.