Accessibility links

Breaking News

Rejecting Talks, Khamenei Says Macron Is Either Naive Or A U.S. Accomplice

In this photo released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks in a meeting in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019

The Islamic Republic of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has once again rejected the idea of negotiations with Washington and ruled out mediation between Iran and the United States by French President Emmanuel Macron.

Khamenei said, "The French President believed a meeting with Trump would solve all of Iran's problems," adding that "He is either naive or an accomplice of the United States."

Speaking on Sunday November 3 to a group of students one day ahead of the anniversary of the U.S. embassy seizure in Tehran in 1979 and taking more than 50 U.S. diplomats hostage for 444 days, Khamenei denied that the seizure of the embassy and the ensuing hostage crisis was the root cause of the problems between Tehran and Washington.

"The Americans distort history and pretend that Iran-U.S. disputes stem from the takeover of the U.S. embassy. No! It goes back to the 1953 coup d'état, when the U.S. overthrew a national government – which, of course, had made the mistake of trusting the United States - and established its corrupt and puppet government in Iran," Khamenei claimed according to his official website.

Khamenei charged that "during the last 41 years, the U.S. has carried out all the hostile actions it knew against the Iranian people, including coups, ethnic provocations, arousing separatism, sanctions, sieges, etc. Of course, we were not inactive and did everything we could to confront the U.S.; and in many cases, we managed to corner them."

He also touched upon his obsession with the idea of "infiltration," and said: "Our most important confrontation with the United States was to block the way for American political re-infiltration into our country's foundation. Avoiding negotiations is also one of the ways to block American infiltration. It means that there is a nation in the world that does not recognize the usurpation, tyrannical power, and international dictatorship of the U.S."

Explaining the reasons for his disappointment with Macron's mediation initiative, Khamenei spoke of Europe's delay in meeting its promise of helping Tehran to continue oil sale despite U.S. sanctions, adding, "these delays leave investors and businesses undecided and push the country toward stagnation and backwardness."

This is also a rare admission by Khamenei that sanctions seriously hurt Iran. His usual line of argument is that self-reliance can compensate for any losses and pressures actually strengthen the regime and the country.

The New Yorker magazine wrote on September 30, quoting diplomatic sources that apparently a deal was made in New York on the side-lines of the UN General Assembly meetings, which hinged on Rouhani, Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron having a phone call on September 24 to seal a four-point deal. As Macron and Trump waited, Rouhani never emerged from his room. This in effect means no deal was finalized, following which Trump imposed new sanctions on Iran.

Speaking about Macron’s initiative, Khamenei told his audience on Sunday: "Give up these expectations. Wait no longer, and do not pin your hopes on foreigners."

"Some imagine that negotiations will solve all problems. This is one hundred percent wrong. The U.S. wants to show Iran that it has been brought to its knees by accepting to negotiate. Cuba and North Korea’s experiences are in front of our eyes. They took photos and even expressed love for the North Korean officials. But they didn’t reduce the sanctions even a bit," he said.

Khamenei had said in August 2018: "I prohibit negotiations with America." During the past months, mediation efforts by Japanese and French officials have failed to bring Iran and the United States' Presidents to the negotiating table.

President Donald Trump has said repeatedly that he is willing to negotiate with Iran without any preconditions. However, Khamenei said on 23 August that he would accept negotiations only if the United States returns to the nuclear deal with Iran which Trump pulled out of in May 2018 and rimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

President Hassan Rouhani has also said that talks between Iran and the United States are possible only if the U.S. "repents," lifts its sanctions and takes part in the P5+1 meetings with the other parties to the 2015 nuclear deal.