Iranian Leader Stays Neutral on US – Led Negotiations, Advocates for Sanction Relief

| by Ethan Brown

In his first public comments on the ongoing negotiations between the United States and Iran, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei described the talks as non-binding and said he does not support or oppose the negotiations.

Khamenei spoke live on Iranian state television to discuss the peace talks, providing more insight into what he thinks of the process, as he will be making the final decisions for Iran.

“I neither support nor oppose it.  Everything is in the details; it may be that the deceptive other side wants to restrict us in the details,” the Ayatollah said.

“The White House put out a statement just a few hours after our negotiators finished their talks … this statement, which they called a ‘fact sheet’, was wrong on most of the issues.”

The deal, which both sides came to an agreement to on April 2, will reduce Iran’s ability to build a nuclear weapon while the United States will remove sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy over the last several years. However, Khamenei remained somewhat pessimistic about the negotiations.

“What has been achieved so far does not guarantee a deal or even that the negotiations will continue to end,” he said. 

“I was never optimistic about negotiating with America … nonetheless I agreed to the negotiations and supported, and still support, the negotiators.”

Khamenei also firmly stated his position of two main issues being discussed – the immediate removal of sanctions after a final deal is reached in June, and that the United States cannot influence Iran’s military weaponry or sites.

“All sanctions should be removed just when the deal is reached.  If sanctions removal depends on another process, then why did we start to talk?” he said.

Sources: Yahoo! News, The Guardian / Photo Credit: Screenshot, YouTube