Iran will not negotiate the nuclear deal with world powers (the U.S., UK, Russia, France, China and Germany) “under the shadow of a threat,” said Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. On Wednesday, he warned that military threats made by the U.S. in the past few days may derail the talks. Tehran and world powers reached a framework agreement on April 2 in Switzerland. They are now negotiating a final deal, which has a June 30 deadline.
Iran ‘will not accept it’
Khamenei was speaking at a gathering of teachers as the crowd shouted “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.” Khamenei has the final word on all state affairs. He claimed that, over the past few days, two senior U.S. officials have threatened military action against Iran if it “refuses to accept this or that nuclear condition.” The Supreme Leader did not provide any further details on the threats.
The Iranian leader said, “Our nation will not accept it.” He has also expressed doubts about the nuclear talks in the past. If signed, the deal will curtail Tehran’s ability to enrich uranium in exchange for lifting of international sanctions that have crippled its economy. Since early 2012, sanctions have brought down Iranian oil exports by nearly 1.5 million barrels per day to just one million bpd.
Khamenei asks Iranian negotiators not to accept humiliation
Iran has repeatedly said that its nuclear program was for peaceful purposes. Negotiators from the two sides are struggling to overcome divides on two major sticking points. One, how Tehran can buy nuclear technology. And two, reimposing the UN sanctions if Tehran violates the terms of the deal. A report from Reuters said that the United States wants to make the nuclear deal immune to Russian and Chinese veto.
Washington wants to make sure that the deal includes the clause of restoring sanctions in case Tehran breaches the agreement, without risking Chinese and Russian vetoes. Negotiators wrapped up a week-long talks on Tuesday in New York.
In his speech Wednesday, Khamenei told Iranian nuclear negotiators to “negotiate….but don’t accept imposition, humiliation and threat.” Tensions int the Middle-Eastern waters have risen after Iran seized a Maersk Tigris cargo vessel in the Strait of Hormuz.