Iran’s Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Khamenei, recently posted on his official website a compilation video of statements he has made between 2012 and late July 2021, saying that he believes that the United States cannot be trusted and that negotiations are therefore useless. Two days after this video was posted, State Department spokesman Ned Price said that it would be “hard to imagine” that would make Biden’s handlers think that it was useless to engage in negotiations with the Islamic Republic. Could Khamenei’s distrust and intransigence prevent the United States from entering into another disastrous nuclear deal?
Khamenei’s video features him saying in 2016: “Why do I insist so much that there must be no contact with the U.S.? This is true even for negotiations, with the exception of specific subjects that stem from our interests.” This segued into a statement from 2013: “I said at the beginning of the [Persian] year, in my speech in the sacred [city of] Mashhad, that there is no problem to conduct negotiations on specific subjects, but I said that I did not trust the Americans and that I was not optimistic about negotiations with them. However, if they want to conduct negotiations, they can go and do that.”
He undercut this tepid permission in another statement from 2016: “Some people say: There is no problem with negotiations. This is the problem with negotiations: They derail you from the right path, deny you of your advantage, take from you what you are supposed to give away, without giving to you what it is supposed to give.”
In another he added: “By no means will reconciliation with American resolve the country’s problems. Ten or fifteen reasons for this can be listed. The last reason is JCPOA,” that is, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the notorious Obama nuclear deal. “How many times have I said,” Khamenei continued, “throughout the negotiations, that the [Americans] are violators of promises, liars, who do not abide by what they say? Today, I am not [the only one] saying that they are violators of promises. The respected senior officials in our country and the negotiators themselves, who have worked so hard, are saying this.”
In yet another statement included in the video, Khamenei expanded on his claim that the Americans couldn’t be trusted. “We said: Do not rely on the other side. Do not be deceived by their smiles. Do not trust any real promise by them – I’m not talking about real promise, not real action – because once they get what they want, they will make a mockery out of you. This is how disgraceful they are.” And: “Ostensibly, they make promises and they use sweet-talk with you, but what they really do is conspire, sabotage, and prevent progress. This is America. This is our experience. Our experience tells us that this is poison that is lethal to us.”
And on July 28 of this year, Khamenei referred to Iran’s previous negotiations as a bad memory: “This experience has taught us that we cannot talk with them on any issue, as with reliable people….Even now, I repeat what I have been saying. This experience tells us that you cannot rely on the West. Others, who will come in the future, should make use of this experience. During the term of [Rouhani’s] government, it became clear that relying on the West is not the answer.”
The contrast between Khamenei’s words and those of Price at a State Department press briefing on August 3 couldn’t have been more stark. Price was asked: “Is there anything that you can think of that they could do or they would do that would make you uninterested in returning to – or that would take the offer of returning to the Vienna talks off the table?”
Price didn’t deign to answer that question, so he answered a different one instead: “I am not going to weigh in on a hypothetical, on a blue-sky hypothetical at that. What I would say is that it will always be in the interest of the United States of America to see to it that Iran is permanently and verifiably prevented from obtaining a nuclear weapon. It is hard for me to imagine – again, without being categorical about this – to – where we would arrive at a point where we would say Iran should have a nuclear weapon.”
This was tantamount to saying that Price found it hard to imagine a scenario in which Biden’s handlers wouldn’t pursue negotiations with Iran, because the Biden team would have us believe that these negotiations would actually prevent, not enable, Iran to get nuclear weapons. This despite the fact that the Obama nuclear deal, which Biden’s handlers wanted to reenter, actually allowed Iran to inspect its own nuclear sites under certain circumstances, and to do whatever it wanted to get nukes after the ten-year period that the deal covered.
So apparently Biden’s handlers want nuclear talks with Iran no matter what the cost, and no matter how belligerent the Islamic Republic gets – after all, the press briefing in which Price said that took place after Iran fired upon an Israeli-managed oil tanker. Could it then be Khamenei’s unwillingness to deal with the untrustworthy Americans that prevents Biden’s handlers from entering into another disastrous deal that would enable Iran’s nuclear ambitions? We can only hope.