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Iran's Supreme Leader Says Negotiating With U.S. Would Be 'Obvious Mistake'

Iranian Supreme Leader - Ali Khamenei

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on July 21 that it would be an "obvious mistake" for officials in Tehran to negotiate with the United States because Washington is unreliable.

"The word and even the signature of the Americans cannot be relied upon, so negotiations with America are of no avail," Khamenei’s official website quoted him as saying during a meeting with officials in Iran’s Foreign Ministry.

Tehran has harshly criticized the decision in May of U.S. President Donald Trump to unilaterally pull the United States out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers.

During the past week, with Khamenei and other hard-liners questioning whether Tehran should continue honoring its obligations under the deal after Trump’s decision, Iran announced it is continuing to acquire uranium and is close to finishing a plant where it can build more centrifuges to enrich uranium.

Vice President Ali Akbar Salehi, who heads the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, said Iran will continue adhering to the nuclear deal, and that the country's stepped up nuclear activities will remain within the limits set by the accord.

Iran also filed a lawsuit at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against the United States on July 18 in response to Trump’s decision.

Iran says its nuclear program is strictly for civilian purposes, while Washington has accused it of attempting to develop nuclear weapons.

Trump said during a NATO summit earlier in July that with the U.S. increasing sanctions on Iran, he expected Iranian negotiators “at a certain point” to “call me and say, 'Let's make a deal,’ and we'll make a deal."

But Iran’s Foreign Ministry responded by saying that if Trump wants to negotiate after pulling out of the international agreement, he would have to "initiate the call himself" because Iran’s top leadership is now rejecting any talks with the United States.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, Al-Jazeera, and Tasnim