Iran's Khamenei rejects US nuclear talks offer

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (October 2012) Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said talks with the US would solve nothing

Iran's supreme leader has dismissed a US offer of one-to-one talks on Tehran's nuclear programme.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a speech posted online that the US was proposing talks while "pointing a gun at Iran".

On Saturday, US Vice-President Joe Biden suggested direct talks, separate to the wider international discussions due to take place later this month.

But the US widened sanctions on Iran on Wednesday, aiming to tighten a squeeze on Tehran's ability to spend oil cash.

Iran, which is subject to an array of international sanctions, has long argued that its nuclear programme is for energy generation and research.

Tehran's critics believe the government is developing nuclear weapons.

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany have held a series of negotiations with Iran over the years.

But they have often ended with Iran demanding the West lifts sanctions as a condition to any nuclear move, and the Western powers refusing.

Iran is expected to attend another round of negotiations on 26 February in Kazakhstan.

'No threats'

Mr Biden made his offer of direct talks during a security conference in Germany last weekend.


President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been trying hard to "reset" Iran-US relations, but each time he has tried to do so, he has been hindered by Ayatollah Khamenei.

Mr Ahmadinejad has repeatedly said he was ready to talk directly to US leaders, but his signals have not been taken seriously. The White House knows that in the end, the ayatollah has the final say in foreign policy.

US President Barack Obama started his second term by sending fresh positive signals to Iran, the latest being Mr Biden's offer of one-to-one talks. Ayatollah Khamenei has criticised Mr Ahmadinejad and his foreign minister for welcoming Washington's offer. The ayatollah had previously described Mr Obama's "extended hand" of friendship as being "covered with a velvet glove, but underneath, it is made of cast iron".

He said Washington was prepared to hold one-to-one talks with Iran "when the Iranian leadership, supreme leader, is serious".

"That offer stands, but it must be real and tangible and there has to be an agenda that they are prepared to speak to. We are not just prepared to do it for the exercise," he said.

On Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akhbar Salehi welcomed the offer, saying Iran had no "red lines".

"But we have to make sure... that the other side comes with authentic intentions with a fair and real intention to resolve the issue," he said.

The minister said Iran would take the offer into "serious consideration", but the US had to desist from the "threatening rhetoric that everything is on the table".

Iran's supreme leader, however, said negotiations with the US "would solve nothing".

"You are pointing a gun at Iran saying you want to talk. The Iranian nation will not be frightened by the threats," he said.

Crippling sanctions

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has several times announced he was ready for direct talks with the US.

But Ayatollah Khamenei's advisers have criticised the president for making such a "submissive" offer, says the BBC's Bozorgmehr Sharafedin.

The UN's nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, has repeatedly accused Iran of not co-operating fully.

In its last report in November 2012, the agency expressed particular concern about activities at a facility in Parchin, just 20km (13 miles) from Tehran.

The agency wanted to investigate claims that Iran had built an explosive-containment vessel to conduct experiments there, saying such experiments "would be strong indicators of possible nuclear weapon development".

But Iran refused to give inspectors permission to visit the site.

Iran's repeated failure to ease international concerns has led to a gradual tightening of economic and political sanctions.

Analysts say Iran's economy is being hobbled. Its currency, the rial, has seen its value plunge, and vital medicines are said to be in short supply.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 430.

    It is no good offering talks and then slapping even more sanctions. Banking sanctions are hurting Iranian people & not the government. Iranians can't buy anything unless they turn up with a suitcase of cash. Sanctions only harden attitudes. Unilateral sanctions such as banking are not authorised by the UN & only help the perception of economic warfare. Would we just sit up and beg if it was us?

  • rate this

    Comment number 429.


    Yes yes yes, the money coming from oil that is pushing Militants into Africa controlling and terrorizing people has nothing to do with the well behaved countries in the Middle East that you are comparing with Israel. Israel is currently doing things that I do not support but the comparison is unjust. You speak with hate of some kind not objectivity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 428.

    im no fan of Iran but the Americans are the greatest threat to the world. American Christian fundamentalist believe that if they start ww3 the messiah will return. go Iran!!!

  • Comment number 427.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 426.

    Why can the US not leave other countries alone when they don't like their stance on issues? Are they all knowing??

    Doesn't Iran have the same rights as Israel? No one argues Israel should get rid of their nuclear weapons, why then Iran who may have only 2-3 warheads?

    Because the US doesn't like Iranian politics?? Tough cheese.

  • Comment number 425.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 424.

    I don't know what we are waiting for.Nothing will change. Iran gets closer to having a nuclear weapon every day. Nothing short of war seems to deter it. At best ploys like Stuxnet slow it down temporarily but their goal remains the same.If Munich 1938 taught us anything it's not to wait until the last possible moment becuase then it will be too late. Today most war damage would be confined to Iran

  • rate this

    Comment number 423.

    @413 sieuarlu god we have some blood thirsty people
    Yeah and if the wind blows our way take out most of western Europe too with the fallout .. War is not really the answer !

    This needs some subtle negotiation ! not insanity !

  • rate this

    Comment number 422.

    the problem for islam is what?it's not misunderstood by the west.Islam horrifies the west because of what it does.
    Shooting a girl in the face because she wants to learn!
    certain things I cherish.My freedom,my right to choose.What does quoran have to say about people like me?I'm a bi sexual atheist!how long would I survive?how many decrees are there out there to kill people like me?

  • Comment number 421.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 420.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 419.


    I imagine Israel is brought up as it is Iran's nuke armed, UN defying, highly aggressive, atrocity perpetuating neighbour.

  • rate this

    Comment number 418.

    Another example of failed diplomacy dragging us to an Israeli led altercation. There is no more evidence that Iran wants WMD than there was in Iraq. Why should Iran suffer further sanctions, further intrusions into their sovereignty, and further international indignity exclusively because of Israel's baseless fears that they will be attacked. The US is acting as a Zionist proxy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 417.

    I think that the powers to be should seek to resolve this through negotiation. Maybe ease the sanctions on medical supplies for a visit to Parchin. Iran dont have capability to threaten the western world the most they could do is close the straits of Hormuz! for all the boasting of new tech! a nuclear war or missile on the sites will cause nuclear fallout! and lots of misery! and maybe ww3 Dum!

  • Comment number 416.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 415.

    There is no sympathy for iran,it's people and especially all of iran's leaders.One day iran will grow-up and join the rest of the world that doesn't believe you must hide one's nuclear programs from a world concerned and tired of war.The only cause of the iranian people suffering lies entirely on their leaders,especially with the ayatollah khamenei.

  • rate this

    Comment number 414.

    powermeerkat Most civilised countries would also use the same sanctions on Israel, and who said the USA driven by the demands of Israel was civilised?

  • rate this

    Comment number 413.

    It's a sobering thought that a single US Trident (Ohio Class) nuclear submarine could erase all of Iran from the face of the earth in 15 minutes with only some of its missiles upon orders from the President of the United States.No need to fly jets anywhere. Teheranians left alive will be able to sing "There'll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight." It'll be the perfect place to play "The Ashes."

  • rate this

    Comment number 412.

    Why compare Israel to Iran? This was an article about Iran and the feeling in the west that Iran is lying. Why is Israel dragged into any conversation regarding the middle east as if Israel is getting ready to attack all the countries nearby including Iran and steal their land is crazy. Why not bring up the Kurdish-Turkish conflict and other global human right violations when talking about Iran

  • rate this

    Comment number 411.

    Israel and the US are two of the most dangerous countries out their for world peace. If anyone is going to end any hope of it it will be them. The rest of the western world follow them to its demise like fools!!

    @402.beammeup... naive if we allow the US and Israel to keep theirs... as they will start WW3, no one else will. The US start wars whenever they want, since WW2 start counting how many


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