Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei today rejected an offer of direct talks made by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden at the Munich Security Conference. Khamenei said the Americans are pointing their guns at Iran and yet offer direct talks. He also lashed out at Iranian officials who would agree to direct talks with the U.S.
Khamenei made the comments during a speech to the commanders and personnel of Iranian air force. Due to the importance of the speech, we have translated all its parts relevant to Iran-U.S. relations.
“Don’t say ball is in Iran’s court - the ball is in your (American) court; because you need to answer this question: Is negotiation with you, while you maintain pressures and threats, meaningful?
“Of course we feel their (American) needs for negotiations; their policies in the Middle East have faced defeat. They need to show a winning hand to compensate for their defeat.
“The (Americans) want to show the world that they have good intentions. But no one feels that… You continue your ‘crippling’ sanctions to paralyze the nation. Does this show good faith or bad faith?
“Talks for sake of talks, negotiations for tactical purposes, and proposals to hold talks to pose as a superpower are only cunning moves.
“I am not a diplomat. I am a revolutionary. I speak in simple, candid and firm manner. The offer for direct talks is meaningful only if it’s done in good faith. They (Americans) are pointing their guns at Iranian nation and say: ’Talk or we’ll shoot.’ But you need to know that talks and pressure and threats are not compatible and our nation will not be intimidated.
“During a period after the revolution, some (Iranian) officials with optimism trusted the Americans, but they branded Iran ‘axis of evil’ and greatly affronted the Iranian nation.
“Talks and pressure are two separate ways. The Iranian nation will not accept to hold talks with those who resort to pressure and threats.
“If some people want to reestablish the American rule in Iran, and relinquish our national independence and abandon the country’s developments, the nation will rise up to face them. Even if I act against this popular will, people will protest it.”
To read the report on Khamenei’s speech by Mehr News Agency (in Farsi), please click here.
Note: Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, responding to Biden’s offer at Munich Security Conference, had said earlier this week that Iran would give “positive consideration” to the possibility of direct talks with the U.S.
Photo credit: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at a meeting with the commanders and personnel of Iran’s air force. Tehran, 9 February 2013. (Mehr News Agency)