FILE PHOTO: Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks live on television after casting his ballot in the Iranian presidential election in Tehran June 12, 2009 (Photo: Reuters)
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the United States and Israel were playing "good cop, bad cop" to intimidate his country into making concessions on the nuclear dispute with the West.
"They make it seem like Israel wants to attack, but America is stopping it: the good cop, bad cop trick," Khamenei told senior statesmen at an iftar (fast-breaking supper during the holy month of Ramadan) function. "But I say out-loud: the reason they are not attacking is because it is too costly. The enemy has no other option at its disposal but make threats and impose sanctions."
Israel has repeatedly threatened to attack Iranian nuclear sites, and been sceptical about the current diplomatic drive by Western allies to persuade Iran to scale back its nuclear programme in exchange for relief in economic sanctions imposed over the years as penalty.
Iran insists its nuclear programme is peaceful, saying Israel's presumed nuclear arms are the real threat to peace
In a boost to President Rouhani, who has been accused of being too soft toward the West, Khamenei said: "All should know that I support his government and use everything in my power to help it. I have trust in our negotiating team and am sure they will not give in on the rights of this nation."
A decisive final round of negotiations on the Islamic republic's controversial nuclear programme began on Thursday in the Austrian capital ahead of a July 20 deadline, reported AFP.
The aim is to reach an agreement guaranteeing the peaceful nature of Iran's programme, after a decade of international tensions.
The accord being sought by both Iran and the P5+1 would finally ease fears of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons and silence talk of war.
In exchange, punishing economic sanctions against Tehran would be lifted.
Iran seeks to continue enriching uranium at an industrial level to produce fuel for nuclear power plants.
It currently has one nuclear power station, but is currently negotiating with Russia to build at least another four.