Iran's supreme leader discourages diplomacy with the US
A handout picture released by the official website of the Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei shows him leading the night prayers (AFP/HO/KHAMENEI.IR)
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Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned Sunday that Washington was “not trustworthy” enough to forge diplomatic ties with the Islamic Republic.
The remarks came after U.S. officials and lawmakers urged diplomacy with Iran's incoming president Hassan Rowhani.
“I said at the beginning of the (Iranian) year that I am not optimistic about negotiations with the US, though in the past years I did not forbid negotiating (with them) about certain issues like Iraq,” he told top officials at an “iftar” evening meal that breaks the daily fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
“The Americans are ... not trustworthy and they are not honest in their encounters... The stance of American officials over past months once again confirms that one should not be optimistic,” he said at the iftar, attended by centrist cleric Rowhani and outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Khamenei has the final say in the Iranian regime’s macro policy issues.
Obama at the start of his first term in office in 2009 offered talks with Iran, which has not had relations with the United States since its 1979 Islamic revolution which overthrew the pro-Western shah.
The United States has led a drive to cut off Iran’s oil exports, its key source of revenues, as a way to pressure the regime over its controversial nuclear work.
Western powers and Israel believe the program is being used to develop an atomic bomb, although Iran insists it is solely for peaceful purposes.
Meanwhile, Rowhani who won a June presidential election, has since vowed to engage constructively with the international community and to ease tensions raised by Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.
“Moderation in foreign policy means neither surrender nor confrontation but constructive and efficacious interaction with the world,” Rowhani has said.