As the world’s 5+1 powers resumed nuclear negotiations with Iran in Geneva on Wednesday, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei attacked Israel and the U.S., saying the Islamic regime is using those negotiations as a gimmick to get stronger.
Khamenei, in a speech to thousands of commanders of the Basij militia, which has been suppressing millions of Iranians seeking freedom from the mullahs’ rule, referred to the negotiations and said: “Some have translated [Iran’s] ‘heroic flexibility’ [in] stepping back from goals and values of the Islamic regime [to achieve a nuclear settlement] and some enemies based on this have claimed retreat by the Islamic Republic.”
However, Khamenei said, that is a “misunderstanding.”
“The ‘heroic flexibility’ means an artistic maneuver and the use of different tactics to reach different goals and ideals of the Islamic regime,” he said. Stalling tactics for more than a decade have allowed Iran to greatly enhance its nuclear capability, allowing to mobilize as a fully-armed nuclear nation within weeks.
Khamenei had previously supported the negotiations by the regime’s new government under President Hassan Rouhani and talked of “heroic flexibility,” implying that the regime will give up some ability of its nuclear program.
However, as the Daily Caller previously reported, the Iranian delegate demanded U.S. and Western recognition of Iran’s right to nuclear enrichment and the removal of major sanctions on its banking and oil industries, which have paralyzed the Islamic regime’s economy. In return, Iran offered only to stop its uranium enrichment at the 20 percent level, a level that is much higher than needed for peaceful purposes.
“The holy Quran necessitates this decree for all prophets, faithful and the ordinary people where all of us must answer in the face of our covenant to God,” Khamenei said. “[B]ased on the clear decree in the Quran, this covenant [is] to stand against the enemy in the fronts of military, political and economy and also not back down from the enemy.”
Khamenei called Israel a “rabid dog,” “unclean,” “illegitimate” and “a bastard.”
“The Zionist regime is destined to destruction, because this miserable regime was imposed [on the Middle East] based upon force, and no imposed phenomenon can last,” he said.
The supreme leader called the U.S. an oppressor of the world and accused it of crimes against humanity, including dropping atomic bombs on Japan.
“[A] deceptive and strange lie is repeated when documents show that a few months prior to America’s nuclear crime in Japan, Hitler, the main figure in World War II, had committed suicide,” he said. “Mussolini, the other figure of the World War, had been arrested, and Japan, two months prior to the incident, had announced its readiness for surrender… The reality is that Americans wanted to test their new arms, meaning the nuclear bomb, in a real situation.”
Khamenei again insisted Iran’s right to enrichment is a red line.
The Basij commander, Gen. Mohammad Reza Naghdi, also told the assembled commanders that “The Basij forces stand by the goal of annihilation of Israel from the world’s map.” Naghdi has been sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department for human rights abuses in Iran.
“Until we recover the Islamic lands from the [Israeli] occupiers and conduct prayers with our leader at the holy Quds [Jerusalem], we will not retreat from fighting with America and the Zionists,” Naghdi said. (RELATED: Iran general: No doubt Israel and America will be attacked)
At the Geneva talks earlier in November, the Obama administration offered the Islamic regime some sanctions relief in exchange for an agreement to reduce enrichment capability.
In a meeting with Senate leaders Tuesday, Obama urged them to hold off on imposing new sanctions on the Islamic Republic while negotiations continued.
Iran has negotiated over its illicit nuclear program with the U.S. and the world powers for over a decade, during which time it has successfully increased the number of centrifuges enriching uranium from 150 to over 19,000 today and has over 10 tons of low-enriched uranium, along with over 400 pounds of higher-enriched uranium. It has long mastered uranium enrichment to the 20 percent level, which is 80 percent of the way to weaponization. It will take only weeks to further enrich from that level to a weaponization grade.
A recent report by the Institute for Science and International Security suggested that Iran with its current enriched uranium stock could build a nuclear bomb in as little as a month.
Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and author of the award-winning book “A Time to Betray” (Simon & Schuster, 2010). He serves on the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and the advisory board of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran (FDI).