Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Iran's highest authority, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has
slapped down an offer of direct talks made by US Vice President
Joe Biden this week, saying they would not solve the problem
"Some naive people like the idea of negotiating with America,
however, negotiations will not solve the problem," Khamenei
said in a speech to officials and members of Iran's air force
carried on his official website.
"If some people want American rule to be established again in
Iran, the nation will rise up to face them," he said.
"American policy in the Middle East has been destroyed and
Americans now need to play a new card. That card is dragging
Iran into negotiations."
Khamenei made his comments just days after Joe Biden said the
United States was prepared to meet bilaterally with the
Iranian leadership. "That offer stands but it must be real
and tangible," Biden said in a speech in Munich.
With traditional fiery rhetoric, Khamenei lambasted Biden's
offer, saying that since the 1979 revolution the United
States had gravely insulted Iran and continued to do so with
its threat of military action.
"You take up arms against the nation of Iran and say:
'negotiate or we fire'. But you should know that pressure and
negotiations are not compatible and our nation will not be
intimidated by these actions," he added.
Relations between Iran and the United States were severed in
1979 after the overthrow of Iran's pro-western monarchy and
diplomatic meetings between officials have since been very
ALL OPTIONS STILL "ON THE TABLE"
Currently US-Iran contact is limited to talks between Tehran
and a so-called P5+1 group of powers on Iran's disputed
nuclear programme which are to resume on Feb. 26 in
Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor said he was
sceptical the negotiations in Almaty could yield a result,
telling Israel Radio that the United States needed to
demonstrate to Iran that "all options were still on the
Israel, widely recognised to be the only nuclear power in the
Middle East, has warned it could mount a pre-emptive strike
on Iranian atomic sites. Israel sees its existence as
directly threatened by the prospect of an nuclear-armed Iran,
given Tehran's refusal to recognise the existence of the
"The final option, this is the phrasing we have used, should
remain in place and be serious," said Meridor.
"The fact that the Iranians have not yet come down from the
path they are on means that talks ...are liable to bring
about only a stalling for time," he said.
Iran maintains its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful but
Western powers are concerned it is intent on developing a
Many believe a deal on settling the nuclear issue is
impossible without a US-Iranian thaw. But any rapprochement
would require direct talks addressing many sources of mutual
mistrust that have lingered since Iran's 1979 Islamic
Revolution and the subsequent US embassy hostage crisis in
Moreover, although his re-election last November may give
President Barack Obama a freer hand to pursue direct
negotiations, analysts say Iran's own presidential election
in June may prove an additional obstacle to progress being