Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed Wednesday that Iran would not negotiate any more with the United States.
The ayatollah’s remarks came amid an ongoing debate in Iran about whether the recently concluded nuclear deal meant a new phase in relations with Washington. Many in the country remain deeply suspicious of the U.S., including political factions that opposed the talks leading up to the deal. (RELATED: Iran Debates Whether America Is Now Just A Medium-Sized Satan)
Khamenei, who has ultimate legal authority under Iran’s constitution, had cautiously endorsed the negotiations while they were taking place. But his sudden announcement effectively thwarts President Hassan Rouhani’s ambitions to further build bridges with the West, as Rouhani spelled out at the U.N. a few short weeks ago.
“Negotiations with the United States open gates to their economic, cultural, political and security influence,” the supreme leader said according to Reuters. “Even during the nuclear negotiations [the U.S.] tried to harm our national interests.”
The supreme leader’s remarks come at a time of increasing tension over Syria, a country where Iran and the U.S. find themselves on opposite sides of the civil war. Iran reportedly sent several hundred troops to support the Syrian regime’s fight against a constellation of rebel groups. Russia’s recent military advances in the country also threaten to pull the U.S. into deeper commitment. (RELATED: 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Russian Propaganda)
Since the nuclear deal lifted certain financial sanctions on Iran, European companies have been quick to invest in the country’s energy market and other economic sectors. Iran’s leadership is presumably not interested in attracting the same level of interest from the U.S. in the future, as other restrictions expire with the enforcement of the deal.
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