Iran's Khamenei rejects direct talks with US
Tehran: Supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Thursday bluntly rejected the US proposal of a direct talk.
US had expressed desires to end the stalemate and move forward on the nuclear standoff between the two countries through a dialogue.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's statement was posted on his website which totally opposed bilateral talks with Washington.
In the statement Khamenei condemned US saying that they were proposing talks while ‘pointing a gun at Iran’.
The latest comments marked Khamenei's first reaction since the idea of direct talks received a high-profile boost earlier this week from US Vice President Joe Biden during a security summit in Munich attended by Iran's foreign minister.
Khamenei's statement also could spill over into the negotiations in Kazakhstan later this month between Iran and a six-nation group comprising the permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany.
The US this week further tightened sanctions on the Islamic Republic, which have already cut Iran's oil revenue by 45 percent. The new measures seek to cut deeper into Iran's ability to get oil revenue. It calls on countries that buy Iranian crude — mostly Asian nations including China and India — to set the money aside and require Iran use it buy local products rather than get cash.
"They say the ball is in Iran's court. The ball is in your court," said Khamenei. "You have to be accountable and explain what it means to offer talks while simultaneously continuing pressure and threats."
American proposals for direct dialogue with Iran received a cautious welcome Sunday from Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, but with caveats that Washington needs to quiet its "threatening rhetoric" for the offer to get real consideration by Tehran's ruling clerics.
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.
"Talks will not solve any problems," Khamenei said in the statement posted Thursday following a meeting with air force commanders.
With Agency Inputs