Iran's Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said Tehran will not accept "unreasonable demands" by world powers during nuclear talks, and ruled out letting inspectors interview its atomic scientists.
The comments, broadcast live Wednesday on state TV, were the latest in a series of forthright statements on inspections in the countdown to a June 30 deadline to resolve a decade-old standoff over Iran's nuclear work.
"We will never yield to pressure ... We will not accept unreasonable demands ... Iran will not give access to its [nuclear] scientists," Khamenei said.
"We will not allow the privacy of our nuclear scientists or any other important issue to be violated."
Khamenei, who has the final say for Iran on any deal, last month ruled out any "extraordinary supervision measures" over nuclear activities and said military sites could not be inspected.
The UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been trying to investigate Western allegations that Iran has worked on designing a nuclear warhead. Iran says its nuclear programme is peaceful and that it is working with the IAEA to clear up any suspicions.
UN inspectors regularly monitor Iran's declared nuclear facilities.
"They say we should let them interview our nuclear scientists. This means interrogation," Khamenei said.
"I will not let foreigners talk to our scientists or interrogate our dear children ... who brought us this extensive [nuclear] knowledge."
Iran reached a tentative deal with the powers on April 2 to allow UN inspectors to carry out more intrusive, short-notice inspections under an "Additional Protocol" to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Negotiators from Iran and the powers will meet in Vienna on Wednesday to try to iron out remaining differences, including the timing of sanctions relief and the future of Iran's atomic research and development programme.