Iran’s supreme leader doubles his position ahead of future nuclear talks with Western powers.
Tehran, Iran – Shortly before Iran and the United States, along with other world powers, returned to Vienna for nuclear talks, Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei declared President “predatory wolf” Joe Biden was no different from its predecessor.
Khamenei on Saturday lambasted the “shameless” behavior of the United States regarding the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, saying it behaved as if Iran was leaving the agreement, while the Americans unilaterally withdrew from it in 2018, imposing severe penalties.
He also criticized the European signatories to the agreement, saying: “They are like the United States too, but in word and rhetoric they are always demanding, as if it was Iran that has long ridiculed and undermined the negotiations “.
The supreme leader’s remarks came during his first visit with the cabinet of President Ebrahim Raisi, which on Wednesday won a broad vote of confidence from the hard-core parliament of the country.
Iran’s new Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian had his first phone call with European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Friday in which Borrell called on Iran to commit to a date to return to Vienna for discussions on reinstating the nuclear deal.
While Iran has said it will return at some point to continue six rounds of talks that ended on July 20, a specific date has yet to be determined.
While the Biden administration has said it wants to revert to the nuclear deal, the US president is still applying Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign because he refused to lift sanctions until a deal is reached in Vienna.
Iranian and US officials have so far clashed over how and which sanctions to lift, and how Iran should again reduce its nuclear program. Iran is currently enriching uranium to 60%, its highest rate on record.
Khamenei’s remarks on Saturday appeared to be a doubling of Iran’s position before the two countries, in addition to European powers and Russia and China, returned to Vienna.
The Supreme Leader specifically asked Raisi’s cabinet to plan for handling the country’s struggling economy on the assumption that US sanctions would remain in place.
“Diplomacy should not be influenced and linked to the nuclear issue because the nuclear issue is a separate issue that must be resolved in a manner that is appropriate and worthy of the country,” he also said.
Instead, Khamenei said Raisi and his team should focus on strengthening “economic diplomacy”.
The appointment of Amirabdollahian, a seasoned diplomat specializing in regional affairs, is indicative of this direction. The foreign minister, who is now in Baghdad to attend a major Iraq-orchestrated regional summit, said he aimed to craft an “Asia-focused” foreign policy agenda.
The Supreme Leader said on Saturday that the best example that the United States is a wolf and “sometimes acts like a cunning fox” is the current situation in neighboring Afghanistan.
Khamenei expressed sorrow over the suicide bombing attack outside Kabul airport on Thursday which killed dozens of Afghans and 13 US personnel, saying “these problems and difficulties are the work of the Americans. who occupied the country for 20 years and imposed various cruelties on its people ”.
“The United States has not taken a single step for the advancement of Afghanistan. If the Afghanistan of today is not behind in terms of social and civil development compared to 20 years ago, it is not ahead.
As the Taliban have taken control of almost all of Afghanistan, Khamenei said Iran supports the people of the country because, as before, governments come and go but the people stay.