|Leader says he is not optimistic about direct talks with U.S.||
TEHRAN - Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has said that he is not optimistic about direct negotiations between Iran and the United States.
“Our interpretation is that the offer of talks is a U.S. tactic meant to deceive the world’s public opinion and the Iranian people. If this is not the case, the Americans must prove this in practice,” Ayatollah Khamenei said in a speech in the northeastern Iranian shrine city of Mashhad on March 21, which marked the beginning of the new Iranian calendar year.
“I’m not optimistic about such talks,” he said. “But I’m not opposed to it, either.”
He also accused the U.S. of hindering the progress of talks over Tehran’s nuclear program and said, “If the Americans truly want Iran’s nuclear issue to be resolved, the solution is simple. They must recognize Iran’s right to nuclear enrichment for peaceful purposes,” he said.
“Past experiences and the situation on the ground show the Americans are not seeking to resolve this issue and want it to remain unresolved to have a pretext for exerting pressure on the Iranian nation.”
He also said, “We have repeatedly stated we are not after nuclear weapons,” adding that Iran had never opposed the enforcement of the regulations of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Iran will destroy Tel Aviv, Haifa if attacked
In his speech, the Leader also commented on Israeli threats of military action against Iran over its nuclear program and said, “Sometimes leaders of the Zionist regime threaten us; threaten a military strike. But I think they know – and if they do not know they should be aware – if they make the slightest mistake, the Islamic Republic will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground.”
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