Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, intimated on Sunday that negotiations over the country's illicit nuclear program are over and that the Islamic Republic's ideals include destroying America.
"Those (Iranians) who want to promote negotiation and surrender to the oppressors and blame the Islamic Republic as a warmonger in reality commit treason," Khamenei is reported to have said a meeting with members of Iran's parliament, according to a report from the regime's Fars News Agency.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei emphasized that without a combative mindset, the regime cannot reach its higher Islamic role against the "oppressors' front."
"The reason for continuation of this battle is not the warmongering of the Islamic Republic. Logic and reason command that for Iran, in order to pass through a region full of pirates, needs to arm itself and must have the capability to defend itself," he said.
"Today's world is full of thieves and plunderers of human honor, dignity and morality who are equipped with knowledge, wealth and power, and under the pretense of humanity easily commit crimes and betray human ideals and start wars in different parts of the world."
In response to a question by a member of Iran's parliament on how long the jihad will continue, the Ayatollah Khamenei replied,"Battle and jihad are endless because evil and its front continue to exist. … This battle will only end when the society can get rid of the oppressors' front with America at the head of it, which has expanded its claws on human mind, body and thought. … This requires a difficult and lengthy struggle and need for great strides."
Khamenei cited the scientific advancement of Iran. "The accelerated scientific advancement of the last 12 years cannot stop under any circumstances," he said, referring to the strides the regime has made toward becoming a nuclear power.
The Obama administration had hoped that with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif demonstrating an eagerness addressing U.S. concerns over Iran's nuclear program, there would be a possibility for a negotiated solution. An interim agreement penned last November was touted as a "historic nuclear deal."
Under that agreement, in return for billions of dollars in sanctions relief, Iran would limit its enrichment activity to the 5 percent level with a current stockpile of over 10 tons (enough for six nuclear bombs), convert much of its enriched stock to harmless oxide and allow for more comprehensive inspections of Iran's nuclear plants by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
However, last week Iran presented new red lines that could not be crossed, including the expansion of R&D for its nuclear program, the need to continue enrichment, and the fact that Iran's missile program is not up for negotiation, despite sanctions
At the same time, IAEA officials met again with Iranian delegates last week in Tehran to discuss needed collaboration by the regime to clear outstanding issues on its nuclear program as part of seven transparency steps Iran had agreed to fulfill by May 15.