Iran's Khamenei rejects direct talks with U.S. on nukes
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejected the U.S. offer of direct talks on his country's disputed nuclear program, deepening doubts about the prospects that Tehran's upcoming discussions with six world powers over the issue will make progress.
Khamenei, who sets his country's policy on the issue, said in comments carried on Thursday on his personal website that talks “will not settle the issue” when the United States has imposed sanctions and is threatening Iran with attack if it doesn't yield.
“You take up arms against the nation of Iran and say: ‘Negotiate or we will fire,'” Khamenei said in a speech to Iranian civilian and air force officials. “But you should know that pressure and negotiations are not compatible and our nation will not be intimidated by these actions.”
“They say the ball is in Iran's court,” he said. “But you have to be accountable and explain what it means to offer talks while simultaneously continuing pressure and threats.”
Vice President Joe Biden last weekend repeated President Obama's offer that the United States would open talks with Tehran if Iranian officials showed they were serious.
While Khamenei didn't directly address his attitude toward Iran's upcoming talks with six world powers, including the United States, to be held Feb. 26 in Kazakhstan, his comments suggested again that he does not intend to give way to international pressure.
The United States and European powers have sharply increased their economic pressure on Iran in the past year, yet Iran gave no ground in three international meetings last year.
The White House, asked about Khamenei's comments, said the administration is still hoping Iran will show a willingness to negotiate, but is prepared to further ratchet up pressure if it doesn't.
“We believe there is still a window to resolve this issue diplomatically, and we are pleased that Iran has confirmed that the next round of talks with the (six world powers) will take place in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on February 26,” said Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for the National Security Council.
But he added: “As long as Iran fails to address these concerns, we will continue to increase the pressure on the regime and isolate it internationally. We have been clear that the United States is determined to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.”
Two other officials, Iran's foreign minister and Khamenei's representative to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, have in recent days also rejected the possibility of direct talks with the United States.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Draft accords of sanctions relief at Iran nuclear talks in hand
- Pakistani military says it achieved major victory over Islamist terrorists
- Official: Iran agrees to early inspections start
- Tunisia imposes state of emergency after terrorist attacks
- Egypt foiled extremist ‘state’ in Sinai, president says
- Greek Prime Minister Tsipras in tenuous position with referendum on bailout deal
- Car bomb blast kills Egypt’s top prosecutor Barakat
- Greeks rally as Prime Minister Tsipras rejects crisis bailout
- Militants attack Egyptian army checkpoints in Sinai, kill 53
- Srebrenica’s killing fields home to thousands slain in genocide
- Iraq, ISIS urge Turks to release dam water