Iranian Leaders Continue Praising Nuclear Program

Celebrated National Day of Nuclear Technology last week
Iranian military exhibition / AP

Iranian military exhibition / AP

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A senior Iranian cleric during a speech at the University of Tehran urged a crowd that included former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to continue to “support Iran’s development of nuclear power.”

Ayatollah Imami Kashani made the remarks as part of his weekly Friday prayers. The country celebrated National Day of Nuclear Technology on Wednesday, when Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared that Iran’s “nuclear achievements are unstoppable.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that the comments show that Iran is making no effort to prepare the public for Iran to make concessions to the West on its nuclear program.

The sermon, like other speeches and television appearances by senior leaders recently, offered few signs the government is conditioning Iranians for any major limitations on nuclear work. But in talks Iran is pursuing with world powers, U.S. and European officials are aiming to significantly scale back Iran’s nuclear capabilities to guard against development of nuclear weapons—something Tehran denies that it seeks.

To reach a deal that would ease international sanctions, the clerical leaders will have to make significant concessions. But by defining the program as one of its signature achievements, U.S. and European officials worry the regime is making it harder to accept the limits the West is demanding. [...]

Iran’s relentless promotion of its nuclear program has continued apace.

In the rolling hills of northern Tehran, the government is completing a multimillion-dollar Holy Defense Museum. Much of the facility’s exhibitions are dedicated to the Iranian soldiers who died during their country’s eight-year war with Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi military. There are also halls commemorating the lives and teachings of Mr. Khamenei and the Islamic Republic’s founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei.