Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday rejected the possibility of negotiations with the Trump administration but also dismissed the idea of war with the U.S.
Khamenei’s remarks appeared to be a response to President Donald Trump, who has alternately threatened military action against Iran and offered to meet with the regime without preconditions.
“Recently, U.S. officials have been talking blatantly about us. Beside sanctions, they are talking about war and negotiations,” Khamenei wrote on his official Twitter account in English. “In this regard, let me say a few words to the people: THERE WILL BE NO WAR, NOR WILL WE NEGOTIATE WITH THE U.S..”
Khamenei, who is the ultimate authority on policy in the Islamic Republic, added that the Trump administration could not be trusted to negotiate after pulling out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which placed limits on Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
“Even if we ever — impossible as it is — negotiated with the U.S., it would never ever be with the current U.S. administration,” he said.
Khamenei’s remarks come a week after Washington reimposed a host of economic sanctions on Iran that had been lifted in the nuclear deal. The sanctions target Iran’s ability to trade in gold and other precious metals, as well as its ability to purchase U.S. dollars in currency markets. Additional sanctions on the Iranian energy section are set to take effect in November.
The Trump administration has said the sanctions are aimed at forcing Tehran to negotiate a new deal with tighter restrictions on its nuclear program. The White House also wants an agreement that addresses Iran’s support for proxy forces in the Middle East and its development of ballistic missile technology.
In keeping with his offers to other foreign adversaries, Trump said in late July that he would meet with Iranian leaders “anytime they want” and “without preconditions.” Iran’s foreign ministry had already rejected the offer, but Khamenei’s remarks on Wednesday marked the first time he has commented publicly on the possibility of renewed talks with Washington.
Although he ruled out negotiations with the Trump administration, Khamenei also dismissed concerns that the U.S. and Iran are on a course toward war.
“No war will occur as, like before, we will never initiate a war,” he wrote on Twitter. “U.S. won’t launch a war either because they know that it would 100% end to their detriment; this is because Islamic Republic and Iranian nation have proved that any transgressor will be stricken a bigger blow.”
Khamenei addressed the deteriorating economic situation in Iran on Monday, where the value of the rial currency has plunged by more than half in the face of renewed U.S. sanctions. The country’s economic woes sparked demonstrations across the country, with thousands of Iranians openly denouncing the regime over high prices for food, a lack of jobs and corruption. (RELATED: Here’s How Europe Plans To Counter US Sanctions On Iran)
Khameni attributed Iran’s economic problems not to U.S. sanctions, but to mismanagement by unnamed officials under Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
“Economic experts and many officials believe the cause of this issue is not foreign, it’s internal,” he said in a speech in Tehran. “Not that sanctions don’t have an impact, but the main factor is how we handle them.”
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