TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said Wednesday that Iran could have taken the step to develop nuclear weapons but it did not and will not because their use is "haram", or forbidden in Islam.
The Leader made the remarks as he highlighted the role of science in human life and destiny, saying science unlocks the true benefits of knowledge only when it is paired with the right understanding of humanitarianism.
"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 atomic bomb and turned into a major threat to the world and humanity," the Leader said.
"Although we could have taken steps on this path, based on Islamic ruling we firmly and bravely said we won't take this path," Ayatollah Khamenei told a group of academics.
"Both building and stockpiling it is wrong, as using it is haram," the Leader said.
"If we had a nuclear weapon, it would have been obvious that it would have been impossible for us to use anywhere," he said. "Under Islamic principles it is definitely haram."
Iran vehemently denies having ever sought an atomic bomb and says its nuclear program is for peaceful energy production and medical purposes only.
In May last year, President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from a landmark 2015 deal that gave Iran relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.
Ayatollah Khamenei said while Iran sees no shame in learning new sciences from others, it does not want its universities to duplicate the American education system and copy the "wrong Western culture."
"Imitating others will kill innovation and the real vigor that comes with science," he said.
The Leader advised Iranian officials to protect the young elite generation from becoming subjected to the phenomenon of brain drain that is being encouraged by certain groups.
He said the Iranian prodigies are the valuable assets of their own country and must be protected against attempts to lure them out of the country using financial incentives and other false promises.
The Leader also hailed the Iranian scientists' achievements in defense, medical sciences, engineering, nanotechnology and peaceful nuclear energy despite the increasing foreign pressure.
"We live in a different situation than others," Ayatollah 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."
He said Iranians need to attain such high scientific standards that "in 50 years' time, all elites wishing to acquire the latest scientific findings should learn the language of Farsi. This is something that can be achieved through reliance on Iranian genius, intellect and persistence."