Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Iran’s supreme leader shuts down possibility of direct nuclear talks with US

by Scott Peterson,CSMonitor.com  |  published on February 9, 2013

Iran’s supreme leader today rejected the possibility of direct talks with the United States, nixing a proposal by Washington to ease the stalemate over Iran’s nuclear program.

Six world powers – including the US – are due to resume nuclear talks with Iran on Feb. 26 in Kazakhstan, after an eight-month hiatus. Few expect a breakthrough, not least because Iran is preparing for elections in June.

But the words of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – who has the final say on all strategic decisions in Iran, as official holder there of the title “God’s deputy on earth” – appear to have scuppered chances of an immediate direct dialogue with the US.

“You [Americans] are pointing the gun at Iran and say either negotiate or we will shoot. The Iranian nation will not be frightened by the threats,”Mr. Khamenei told Air Force commanders in a speech today.

“Some naive people like the idea of negotiating with America [but] negotiations will not solve the problems,” Khamenei said in the remarks, which were posted on his website. “If some people want American rule to be established again in Iran, the nation will rise up to face them.”

US Vice President Joe Biden said Feb. 2 that Washington was ready for one-on-one talks “when the Iranian leadership, supreme leader, is serious.” And in recent days, both President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iran’s foreign minister issued cautious, but explicit and positive, signals about possible direct contact with the US.

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