It appears that the Iranian regime still does not quite understand the concept of negotiations. You cannot demand everything you want as a precondition for starting negotiations Mr. Khamenei; then there would be nothing to talk about! Their dogmatism clearly extends beyond revolutionary, puritanical Shia’ Islamism.
The BBC et al, all reported Khamenei’s response to Biden’s characteristically blunt – but honest – request to sit down and talk; direct negotiations between Iran and the US.
Iran’s supreme leader, however, said negotiations with the US “would solve nothing”.
In fact, while most of the world views talks as a means of conciliation and compromise, Iran sees negotiations as part of a ‘wider threat’ thus justifying their invariable foot dragging.
“You are pointing a gun at Iran saying you want to talk. The Iranian nation will not be frightened by the threats,” he said.
As the Guardian noted, Iran still wants something for nothing: the removal of sanctions, before negotiations.
“Khamenei made clear in Thursday’s speech that talks with the US will not be feasible as long as Washington holds on to it carrot-and-stick approach to Tehran, offering talks while imposing its toughest sanctions against the Islamic republic.”
The Daily Star (Reuters piece) highlighted that:
“Any rapprochement would require direct talks addressing many sources of mutual mistrust that have lingered since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution”.
Indeed. But trust can only be built through (i) talking and (ii) transparency. Two very big ‘T’s that this current Iranian regime is avoiding like the plague.
Khamenei’s very open rebuff now puts Iran’s FM Ali Akbar Salehi’s “I am optimistic [about negotiations with the US]” statement in the same shallow propaganda category as Slippery Hossein Mousavian – about whom I have written on a number of occasions – and his recent remarks at Chatham House.
And as the war of words continues, Reuters informs us that:
“Tehran announced late last month it planned to install the new machines at its main enrichment plant.
The move underlined Iran’s defiance of international demands to scale back the uranium enrichment which Tehran says is for civilian purposes but which could also potentially be used to make material for atom bombs.
Olli Heinonen, until 2010 a deputy director general of the UN nuclear agency, said Iran had started purchasing special materials needed for manufacturing new centrifuges years ago when the sanctions on the country were not as strict as now.”
So while the Iranian regime may be bluffing regarding talks, when it comes to enrichment, they are supremely serious.