Iran unfazed by U.S. rhetoric, cleric says

Feb. 21, 2014 at 11:44 AM
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TEHRAN, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- A senior Iranian cleric said during Friday prayers the people of Iran were brushing off any potential military threat from the United States.

Separate statements from U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry that a military option remained on the table should Iran renege on its nuclear commitments has frustrated Iranian leaders.

Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati said during his Friday sermon in Tehran the threats were falling on deaf ears. "The message of the Iranian people was that they are not afraid of your options on the table," he was quoted by the semiofficial Fars News Agency as saying.

Iran in February test fired two missiles in response to what it said was bellicose rhetoric from U.S. officials.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said during Thursday talks in Vienna with the European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, that Iran's military program wasn't up for debate.

"We are focused merely on the nuclear issues and the negotiations don't include defensive and scientific issues and everyone has accepted that Iran's defensive capability is no subject for the negotiations," he was quoted by Fars as saying.

Iran under the terms of an interim deal reached in November agreed to curb its uranium enrichment programs in exchange for modest relief from economic sanctions.

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