West 'will not bring Iran down'
Iran's supreme leader has said the western global powers will not be able to bring Iran to its knees during nuclear talks.
Speaking to a group of clerics on his website, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said: "On the nuclear issue, the United States and European colonialist countries gathered and applied their entire efforts to bring the Islamic Republic to its knees - but they could not, and they will not."
These are the first remarks by Khamenei ,who has ultimate executive power on all state matters, since Iran and the major global powers powers agreed to decide by March 1 2015 what needs to be done and on what kind of schedule. A final agreement is meant to follow four months later.
Khamenei has so far backed the nuclear negotiations. His reference to the future indicates that the extension of the talks would have his approval as well.
Earlier on Monday in a nationwide broadcast, Iran's president Hassan Rouhani told his nation that it "has achieved a significant victory" and "negotiations will lead to a deal, sooner or later".
Mr Rouhani also said many gaps in the talks "have been eliminated".
But he also vowed that Iran will not relinquish its right to nuclear capability.
"Our nuclear rights should be admitted by the world," Mr Rouhani said. "We will continue the talks."
The US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany have engaged in intensive negotiations over Iran's nuclear programme. Tehran has denied its nuclear research has any sort of military dimension, saying it is focused on peaceful uses such as power generation and medical treatments.