Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran, Iran on April 17, 2012. UPI/Maryam Rahmanian | License Photo
TEHRAN, May 23 (UPI) -- The elimination of weapons of mass destruction from international arsenals is a "sacred goal" of the Iranian government, the president said.
Delegates from the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China -- along with Germany, met Wednesday in Baghdad with Iranian officials to discuss concerns about Iran's nuclear program.
Iran is suspected of working on the technology needed to manufacture a nuclear weapon, an allegation the government denies.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said from Tehran that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei issued a religious edict in February explicitly forbidding weapons of mass destruction.
"Iran believes that the annihilation of all weapons of mass destruction is a sacred goal and that the security and health of humans depend on it," the president was quoted by state-funded broadcaster Press TV as saying.
Talib Mahdi, a member of the Iranian delegation in Baghdad, told China's official Xinhua news agency that Tehran wasn't offered any deal to cut back on uranium enrichment in exchange for a reduction in sanctions.
"Such proposal could be accepted by Iran because it would be a clear international recognition that Iran has the right to obtain nuclear energy," he was quoted as saying.