Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Bans Any Further Negotiations With America – Iran-U.S. Talks To Stall?

Iran’s leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has openly banned any further negotiations with the United States. He has never been completely supportive of the way Iran negotiated with America, but this is the first time he has opposed the talks with such finality.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has banned the country’s elected officials and government administrators from having any further talks or negotiations. He has effectively derailed the talks that the moderates of the country were having with the Western leaders to try and end Iran’s isolation.

Khamenei railed against the evils of the United States with a fiery denunciation of American foreign policy.

“Talks with the United States are forbidden because of the countless harm it has. It has no advantage at all. Negotiations between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran means penetration. That is how they define such negotiations. They want to open the way for imposition.”

Iran’s nuclear program, which has always been perceived as aggressive with an intent to develop nuclear weapons, has been a major cause of concern for America for quite some time, and it has resulted in a trade embargo, 150 billion dollars worth of frozen Iranian assets, and punishing financial sanctions.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is the highest authority in the Islamic Republic, and he had already spoken against the ongoing negotiations with the United States in his address last month. However, he had refrained from issuing an outright ban until Wednesday. Worryingly, Khamenei’s speech clashed with the views expressed by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Iran’s president has been perceived as a little too moderate for the Islamic Republic by the hardliners, but he was quite keen to have a meaningful and productive dialogue with America.

Iran Nuclear Program

Although Iran’s nuclear program may have been the bone of contention, both countries agree the bloodshed and slaughter in Syria must come to an end. However, since the two countries support opposing sides, most political pundits realized the talks were quite sensitive, and the dialogue between the two nations was bound to come to a standstill sooner or later.

But rather than reach an impasse, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei brought the talks to a crashing halt. On his official website, the Supreme Leader used an accusatory tone to say, “Negotiations with the United States open gates to their economic, cultural, political, and security influence. Even during the nuclear negotiations they tried to harm our national interests. Our negotiators were vigilant but the Americans took advantage of a few chances.”

Interestingly, Khamenei had supported the negotiations for 18 long months. However, he has never publicly endorsed the nuclear agreement with the United States that settled a potentially volatile dispute that began in the early days of the Bush presidency, reported MSN. Originally, the negotiations included the other five permanent members of the UN Security Council, but the final agreement came after direct talks between the US and Iran. The agreement was then submitted to the P5 nations for approval, but the terms were already set in stone by Iran.

Had the negotiations proceeded to a mutually satisfactory conclusion and resulted in an actual detente between the two powerful adversaries, Iran could have effectively ended a trade embargo that lasted for more than a decade, and perhaps, even normalized relations with the United States.

Iran has never denied the existence of its nuclear program for energy and medicine, but it has always refuted any accusations that the Iranian Republic plans to develop nuclear weapons. The West has remained highly skeptical of Iran’s assurances and has taken precautionary steps on every occasion to get Iran to slow down any nuclear weapons program. The ultimate goal was to prevent the Islamic Republic from ever possessing an atomic bomb, but Iran has no intention of letting the West make the rules or set the limits.

The agreement has allegedly reached the goal of restricting Iran’s nuclear program. In exchange, the crippling sanctions will be lifted, which should better the lives of local citizens, improve their living standards and needless to say, boost Iran’s relations with the rest of the world. However, it remains to seen how much of the money being returned to Iran will actually trickle down to the civilian population of Iran.

When negotiations began, the Western nations were also insistent that Iran discontinue any attempts to develop or acquire the missile technology needed to deliver a nuclear warhead, and cease all activities as the world’s leading financier of terrorism. Sadly, Iran managed to bluff and bluster so successfully that these particulars were not part of the final deal.

Iran Negotiations

Iran’s administration and hardliners have always been at loggerheads over the perceived meek stand taken by those in the government. While many of Iran’s top Islamic clerics have accused the Rouhani administration of bowing to the whims of the West, and they have also threatened to impeach Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, reported Fox News. In a highly controversial incident, Zarif shared a handshake with American President Barack Obama last month at the United Nations in New York, sparking waves of protests in Iran.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei did not mince words when he called for the ban on negotiations. It isn’t clear how Iran’s government will react, but disobedience to the will of Iran’s Supreme Leader usually leads to dire consequences.

[Image Credit | Atta Kenare, IIPA, Mehri / Getty Images]