“Others should use your experiences. This experience is a distrust of the West,” Khamenei said in remarks broadcast by state television. “In this government, it was shown up that trust in the West does not work.” He added: “Westerners do not help us, they hit wherever they can.”
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s remarks come as his hard-line protege, President-elect Ebrahim Raisi, is poised to be sworn in next week as the head of the country’s civilian government. While Raisi has said he wants to return to the tattered nuclear deal, which saw Iran limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions, Khamenei seemingly called for a more adversarial approach in his remarks. The supreme leader also appeared to describe outgoing President Hassan Rouhani’s eight-year government as naive for its approach in reaching the 2015 agreement — even as Rouhani and his Cabinet sat before him in a farewell meeting. In Washington, the State Department said the U.S. is being “sincere and steadfast in pursuing a path of meaningful diplomacy” in the nuclear deal negotiations, but blamed Iran for the impasse in Vienna.
“We have made clear that we are prepared to return to Vienna to resume negotiations. The same could not be said of Iran,” the U.S. statement said. “No amount of deflection can obscure that. We urge Iran to return to the negotiations soon so that we can seek to conclude this deal.” The statement added: “That opportunity will not last forever.”
French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Agnes Von Der Muhll similarly told journalists Monday that it was “urgent for Iran to return to the negotiating table.” “Through its actions, Iran continues to exacerbate the nuclear situation,” she said. “If it continues down this path, … it could compromise the very possibility of concluding the Vienna talks and restoring the” deal. In his remarks Wednesday, Khamenei described American negotiators as verbally promising to lift sanctions, but said any return to the nuclear deal must “include a sentence” on negotiating on other issues.
“By putting this sentence, they want to provide an excuse for their further interventions on the principle of (the deal) and missile program and regional issues,” the leader said. “If Iran refuses to discuss them, they will say that you have violated the agreement and the agreement is over.” Rouhani sat off to the side at Khamenei’s office during the meeting along with his senior vice president, while officials in his government sat before the supreme leader in socially distanced chairs amid the country’s raging coronavirus outbreak. All wore masks, making it difficult to see their expressions as Khamenei criticized any outreach to the West while only praising “some” of the country’s diplomats in front of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. “Westerners do not help us, they hit wherever they can,” Khamenei said. He also said at another point: ”They don’t help, they are enemies.”
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