Iranian Leader Sets Demands for Talks With U.S.

Iran will refuse to negotiate over its atomic activities with the United States unless economic penalties and references to possible military action against the Middle Eastern nation are dropped, Iran’s supreme religious leader said yesterday (see GSN, Aug. 18).

Iranian officials have offered conflicting statements in recent weeks regarding their willingness to begin new talks on disputed elements of its nuclear program. Tehran last joined such discussions in July 2008 with the United States, the four other permanent Security Council member nations and Germany; the meeting ended in failure (see GSN, July 21, 2008).

“What they say, our president and others are saying, [is] that we will negotiate — yes we will, but not with America because America is not negotiating honestly and like a normal negotiator,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told high-level Iranian officials in remarks aired on television, according to Reuters.

“Put away the threats and put away the sanctions,” he added (Hossein Jaseb, Reuters, Aug. 18).


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