Khamenei: West talks of nuclear Iran to hide own problems
By Marcus George
DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran's supreme leader accused the West on Sunday of lying about his country's nuclear plans in order to cover up their own problems, in a fiery speech that gave no indication he was ready to compromise in talks with world powers.
In an address marking the 23rd anniversary of the death of his predecessor Ruhollah Khomeini, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned Israel that any attack on Iran would be answered with a "thunderous blow".
Khamenei - who has total command over Iran's nuclear policy - has publicly forbidden the development of nuclear weapons, but western nations suspect that Tehran is developing in isolation each of the components required for an atomic bomb capability.
"What Americans and westerners do is idiotic. They magnify the nuclear issue to cover up their own problems," Khamenei said, referring to the economic gloom in the U.S. and Europe.
"They are deceitfully using the term nuclear weapons."
Israeli talk of military strikes showed it felt vulnerable after the fall of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a U.S. and western ally, last year, Khamenei said. "If they take any miscalculated action, they will receive a thunderous blow."
On Saturday a senior military commander said Iranian missiles could reach all parts of Israel and threatened U.S. bases in the region if Iran was attacked.
While Iranian officials maintain a defiant tone, Iran has returned to talks with world powers after the West severely tightened sanctions, targeting its oil exports and isolating its banks, to pressure Tehran to curb what it believes is a bid for nuclear arms capability. Continued...