Oct. 9 (UPI) -- Iran will not pursue nuclear weapons because they are forbidden by Islam, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said in a speech Wednesday.
Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency have been inspecting Iran for years and several countries have a nuclear agreement with Iran to ensure Iran never becomes a nuclear threat. The United States pulled out of the agreement last year.
Khamenei, spoking before a group of academics and high-level scientists, tried to ease fears that Iran could secretly be researching nuclear weapons.
"In the case of the key and very beneficial nuclear science ... when it was paired with a thirst for more power, it resulted in the creation of the nuclear weapon and turned into a major threat to the world and humanity," Khamenei said. "Although we have always had the ability to tread this path, we declared it haram [forbidden by religion] according to the verdict of the beloved Islam, and therefore there is no reason for us to expend our resources on developing and stockpiling a weapon that is absolutely prohibited [by Islam] to use."
Khamenei said last week that Tehran will continue abandoning commitments to the 2015 nuclear deal as long as the United States keeps hitting Iran with sanctions.
Khamenei also told the crowd of academics they should focus on their religion and nationality.
"We want science but we don't want our universities to be a reproduction of some U.S. university," Khamenei said.
He hailed Iranian achievements in medical science, engineering, nanotechnology and peaceful nuclear energy.
"We live in a different situation than others," Khamenei said. "We need to think Iranian, act Iranian and live Iranian and this trend can be accelerated by adopting the Islamic-Iranian Blueprint for Progress."