In an apparent nod to a potential Biden presidency, Iran’s Rouhani calls for a US return to nuclear deal commitments.
Tehran, Iran – Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says his country will resist until a time when countries that sanction Iran come to the realisation that the moves are useless.
In a speech to top officials on Tuesday as part of a meeting to discuss managing the economy, Khamenei said when it comes to sanctions, there are two issues – “defusing sanctions and overcoming them” and “lifting sanctions”.
“We tried the path of lifting sanctions once and negotiated for years, but it led to no results,” he said according to his official website.
Therefore, Khamenei added, Iran will need to nullify sanctions, a path that he conceded could entail challenges and difficulties, “but will have a good outcome”.
“If we can overcome sanctions through hard work and innovation and taking problems as they come, and the other side sees that sanctions are ineffective, they will gradually stop sanctioning,” he said.
According to Khamenei, Iran has many capacities to nullify the sanctions. It just needs to put in the effort and “head towards the heart of the problems”.
After years of multilateral sanctions, Iran reached a landmark nuclear accord with the P5+1 group of world powers in 2015.
The deal lifted sanctions in exchange for curbs on Iran’s nuclear programme.
But in May 2018, US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the accord and imposed harsh economic sanctions on Iran despite opposition from all other signatories.
The “maximum pressure” campaign has now effectively blacklisted the entire Iranian financial sector, but failed to bring Iran back to the negotiating table.
President-elect Joe Biden’s administration is expected to signal a change in the US policy on Iran.
However, Iran has said it will under no circumstances renegotiate the nuclear deal and expects the US to rescind the sanctions and pay compensation.
In his speech, Khamenei also slammed France, Germany and the United Kingdom, together known as the E3, for criticising Iran.
“While they themselves have the highest amount of incorrect meddling in the region’s affairs, they tell us not to interfere in the region,” he said.
“While the UK and France have destructive atomic missiles and Germany is on this path, they tell us ‘don’t have missiles’.”
Khamenei said those issues have nothing to do with the European powers, adding, “first reform yourself and then comment”.
Last week, the E3 issued a statement to express concern over Iran’s scaling back of commitments under the nuclear deal, which they said is “hollowing out the core nonproliferation benefits of the deal”.
Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh condemned the statement, calling it “irresponsible” since the E3 and the US have failed to implement their commitments under the deal.
The E3 and the US have also on multiple occasions expressed concern over Iran’s regional activities and missile programme.