DUBAI - Iran's supreme leader criticized Western powers on Thursday for not offering concessions in talks last week, saying the West was using the nuclear issue as a pretext to impose sanctions and harm the Islamic Republic.
It was Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's first reaction to what Iranian officials described as "positive" nuclear talks in Almaty, Kazakhstan, during which the P5+1 group of nations offered modest sanctions relief in return for Iran curbing higher grade uranium enrichment.
"Western nations did not accomplish anything that can be construed as a concession, and instead they admitted Iran's rights only to a degree," Khamenei said in an address reported on his official website.
"To assess their integrity, we must wait until the next round of talks," he added.
Khamenei said the West was using Iran's nuclear program as a "pretext" to impose sanctions and pressure Iranians to "confront the system."