Iran warns U.S. on oil shipments
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TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Ayatollah Ali Khameni, Iran's supreme leader, has warned the United States that any "misbehavior" directed at Iran would serve to disrupt Gulf energy shipments.
"In order to threaten Iran, you say that you can guarantee movements of oil through this region," he said Sunday, referring to shipments that pass through the strategic Strait of Hormuz near Iran and other countries.
The United States "should know that the slightest misbehavior on your part would endanger the region's energy security," he said. "You are not capable of guaranteeing energy security in this region."
Khameni did not specify what he meant by disruption or misbehavior.
But he said "we will not start a war. We have no intention of war with any government."
Khameni was speaking on the 17th anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Khomeini, who spearheaded the establishment of the Islamic republic in 1979.
Iran is embroiled in a standoff with the West over its nuclear ambitions.
The Islamic republic says it wants to pursue nuclear power for peaceful purposes, but the United States and the European Union believe it harbors aspirations to be armed with nuclear weapons.
Khameni -- who didn't mention the package of incentives for Iran to end its nuclear ambitions -- insisted that the country "is not pursuing a nuclear bomb. This is not true, and it is an absolute lie. We are not pursuing an atomic bomb. We have no plans that would require us to have a bomb. This is against Islamic principles. Building and maintaining a nuclear bomb costs a lot, and we do not need this. "
"We only aspire to building an Iran, which would secure the well-being of its people and serve as a model for other nations. We want to come out from under the humiliation of the last few centuries. This nation has power and dignity, but it has been denied us in the past partly by the betrayal of our own governments as well as by foreigners.
"We are no threat to anyone, but we are dedicated and committed to our national interests and aspirations, but if anyone wants to stop us, they will feel the wrath and anger of this nation."
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahamdinejad, however, has been taunting and rebuking Israel and the Jewish people. He said a few months ago that Israel should be wiped off the map. Iran regards Israel as a threat because of its reputed nuclear program and dislikes its treatment of Palestinians.
On Saturday, Ahmadinejad said his country is ready to hold "fair and unconditional" talks with the West on Iran's nuclear issue, according to the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency. (Full story)
On Thursday, six world powers -- the five veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council, along with Germany -- agreed in Vienna to "substantive" incentives in an attempt to coax Iran to abandon its uranium enrichment.
The EU's Javier Solana is expected to leave Brussels on Sunday for a Middle East tour that could accommodate a detour to the Iranian capital. (Full story)
No compromise on enrichment program
Ahmadinejad, who spoke to thousands gathered at the shrine of the late Ayatollah Khomeini, repeated that Iran will not compromise on its right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes, the news agency said.
In his speech, Khameni argued that Iran is not a threat to the world and cited the support of 116 Non-Aligned Movement nations for Iran's aspirations for nuclear technology.
He criticized U.S. policies in Iraq and the Palestinian territories and compared U.S. President George W. Bush and Ahmadinejad.
"Those people currently running the government of the U.S. should understand and should compare their president with our president. Your president is hated within the U.S. according to your own polls. Your current government is the most hated in the U.S. history from the point of view of the people, whereas ours is the most popular in Iran in the last 100 years.
"Wherever your president goes in the world, there are demonstrations against him, and he is hated in Africa, in Asia and everywhere. In Latin America such as Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela, governments are elected based on the strength of anti-American slogans. The people of the U.S. -- they don't have security in their private telephone conversations.
"The government of the U.S. doesn't trust their own people to allow them to have private telephone conversations and have passed laws to eavesdrop on them. The recent visit of the Iranian president to Indonesia and his predecessors' visits to Lebanon and other countries were all warmly welcomed."
CNN's Shirzad Bozorghmehr contributed to this report
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