Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has a final say about Iran’s nuclear program, stated his explicit support for Iran’s nuclear negotiating team during a speech in honor of National Day of Resistance Against Global Arrogance. He also warned that the US concern with Iran’s nuclear program is an excuse, and the hostilities between the two countries would continue even if the nuclear negotiations reach an agreement.
“They are children of the revolution and officials of the Islamic Republic,” Ayatollah Khamenei said of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who is leading the negotiations with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) and his negotiation team.
“With great effort they are engaged in a difficult mission,” he continued, stressing that “no one should weaken them, insult them or comprise them.”
He also warned the negotiators in trusting the Americans. “You cannot trust an enemy who smiles,” Ayatollah Khamenei said. “My recommendation to officials in the field of diplomacy and negotiations is, be careful, do not allow the deceitful smiles of the enemy entangle you in a mistake.”
He continued, “The officials must pay attention to statements and actions of the opposing side. On the one hand, they smile and make statements in favor of negotiations, but on the other hand they immediately say that all of the options are on the table.” Iranian media reacted harshly to US President Barack Obama’s comments that “all options are on the table” with respect to Iran, in a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which took place immediately after the historic phone call between the Iranian and US presidents.
Without referencing any names, Ayatollah Khamenei also responded to statements by Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson, who was inaccurately called “an American politician” in Iranian media. At an event in Yeshiva University, Adelson said that Obama should drop a nuclear weapon in a desert in Iran as a warning to stop their nuclear program, and drop the second one in Tehran if they did not comply.
Ayatollah Khamenei responded, “If the Americans are telling the truth and they are serious about the negotiations, they must hit this individual who speaks nonsense in the mouth.” He continued, “A government that has these illusions, which has a responsibility in global and nuclear affairs, is “wrong” to atomically threaten another country,” hereby using an expression that more accurately translates to “The hell we will.”
On previous nuclear negotiations in which Iran resulted in suspending enrichment, Ayatollah Khamenei said, “God willing, we will not see harm from these negotiations because an experience will be acquired by the nation, just like the experience of the temporary suspension of enrichment during 2003 and 2004, the capacity of thinking and analysis of the people will go up.” In October 2003, in negotiations with France, Europe and Germany (EU-3), Iran agreed to suspend enrichment and other processing activities. They restarted enrichment in 2005, just before President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took office.
On those negotiations with EU-3 which President Hassan Rouhani led when he was head of the Supreme National Security Council, Ayatollah Khamenei said, “A decade ago in negotiations with Europe, in a way we retreated, suspension in reality was imposed, we accepted but after two years of suspension and closure of many activities we all realized that even with these types of things, there absolutely was no hope in cooperating with the Western side.”
He continued, “If we didn’t do this [suspension], some would have claimed that with retreating one time the problems would be solved and the nuclear case would be normalized. But with the experience of the temporary suspension, everyone understood that the opposing side was after other goals, therefore we restarted work and progress.”
Ayatollah Khamenei also stated that he is not “optimistic about the current negotiations, because it is not clear that they will bring about the results the nation expects. But we believe this experience has no problem on the condition that the nation is alert and knows what is happening.”
He also warned about those who wanted to “submit” in the nuclear negotiations thinking that it would solve all of Iran’s economic problems. “Some, in line with the foreign media working to mislead public opinion, suggest that if we submit on the nuclear issue all of our economic and other problems will be solved.”
He pointed to a list of grievances that were not related to the nuclear file, such as the sanctions that started after the revolution, shooting down of passenger airplane flight 655 and other activities that Iran accuses the United States of having a hand in, in showing that the nuclear file is “nothing more than an excuse” for the United States. He added that if a resolution is made on the nuclear file, the United States “will continue its enmity with tens of other excuses such as progress with missiles, Iran’s opposition to the Zionist regime and Iran’s support for resistance.”
In using a famous line from Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, he added “US enmity with the Islamic Republic of Iran is because the Iranian nation, in rejecting their wants, believes that America cannot do a damn thing.”