A prominent Iranian lawmaker said Iran has the knowledge and scientific capability to produce nuclear weapons — but will never do so.
Gholamreza Mesbahi Moghadam said Iran can easily produce the highly enriched uranium that is used to build atomic bombs but it is not Tehran's policy to go that route.
Moghadam made the comment in an interview with the parliament's news website, icana.ir, late Friday.
His views do not represent the Iranian government's policy. It is the first time that a prominent Iranian politician has publicly stated that Iran has the technological capability to produce a nuclear weapon.
The U.S. and its allies accuse Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.
In on the Iranian parliament's English-language website, Asqar Jalalian, a member of the Majlis Energy Commission, said Iran's nuclear program was part of global efforts to be more environmentally friendly.
"The nuclear science is currently viewed as one of the foundations of sustainable development in many countries," he said.
On Friday, that Iran's leaders appeared to be showing signs of concern about the country's increased isolation in the world, as they backpedaled from criticism of Turkey, which is to host talks about Iran's disputed nuclear program.
Iranian officials had called for the talks, on April 13 and 14, to be moved to a different country, saying Turkey was neither fair nor neutral toward Iran, the paper reported.
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Erdogan hit back saying the Iranians "keep losing credibility in the world" because of a "lack of honesty," the Times said.
Iran responded with what the paper described as a "veiled apology," saying Iran and Turkey were brotherly regional powers.