Iran’s supreme leader Thursday strongly rejected proposals for direct talks with the United States, effectively quashing suggestions for a breakthrough one-on-one dialogue on the nuclear standoff and potentially other issues.
The statement posted on Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s website echoes previous remarks opposing bilateral talks with Washington in parallel with stop-and-start nuclear negotiations with world powers, including the U.S.,which are scheduled to resume later this month.
But the latest comments marked Khamenei’s first reaction since the idea of direct talks received a high-profile boost earlier this week from U.S. Vice President Joe Biden during a security summit in Munich attended by Iran’s foreign minister.
All major decisions in Iran must be cleared by Khamenei, who has previously opposed direct negotiations with Washington and has shown no inclination of changing his positions.
“You are holding a gun against Iran saying, ‘Talks or you’ll fire.’ The Iranian nation will not be frightened by such threats,” he added in apparent reference to U.S. sanctions over Iran’s nuclear efforts.