Iran's ayatollah rejects long-term nuclear research freeze
TEHRAN - The Associated Press
AFP photoIran's top leader has rejected a long-term freeze on nuclear research and supports banning international inspectors from accessing military sites as a deadline in negotiations with world powers approaches.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also says Iran will sign a final deal provided all economic sanctions now on Iran are first lifted.
Khamenei's comments, made June 23 night and broadcast on Iranian state television, suggests the Islamic Republic may be toughening its stance ahead of a June 30 deadline for a final deal.
Tehran is negotiating with the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany over its contested nuclear program.
Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, such as power generation and medical research. The West fears Iran could use it to build an atomic bomb.