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Iran has no intention to make or use nuclear weapons: Khamenei

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Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei with Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tehran on Thursday.

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15th-Jun-2019       
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Reuters, Tokyo :
Iran has no intention of making or using nuclear weapons, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quoted as saying on Thursday by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Khamenei's comment, a reiteration of Iran's stance, comes at a time of increased US-Iranian tension, a year after Washington abandoned an agreement between Iran and world powers to curb its nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of international financial sanctions.
"Supreme Leader Khamenei made a comment that the country will not and should not make, hold or use nuclear weapons, and that it has no such intentions," Abe told reporters in Tehran following a meeting with Khamenei.
"Today, I met Supreme Leader Khamenei and heard his belief in peace. I regard this highly as a major progress toward this region's peace and stability," said Abe, the first-ever Japanese prime minister to hold talks with Khamenei.
Abe's comment was broadcast on Japanese public broadcaster NHK.
On Wednesday, Abe warned of unintended clashes in the crisis-hit Middle East after meeting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
Abe was visiting Iran to help ease rising tension between the United States and the Islamic Republic.
Japan is in a unique position to act as a mediator as the U.S. ally has long maintained close ties with Iran.
U.S. allies in Europe and Asia have repeatedly expressed concern that tension between the United States and Iran could escalate into an armed conflict. Abe warned on Wednesday of unintended clashes in the Middle East, after meeting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
A year after the United States abandoned an agreement between Iran and world powers to curb Tehran's nuclear programme in return for lifting sanctions, confrontation between the two foes has reached a new pitch.
Washington has dispatched additional forces to the region in recent weeks after accusing Tehran of threatening shipping there. Iran has denied being behind attacks on ships and suggested they could be intended as a provocation.
Thursday's attacks on "Japan-related" tankers were suspicious, especially on the day Khamenei and Abe met, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted.
The Trump administration says the agreement it quit last year, which was negotiated by Trump's predecessor Barack Obama, was not firm enough and new sanctions are needed to force Iran to make more concessions. Iran says it cannot negotiate with a country that abandoned the previous deal.

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