Iran’s Supreme Leader says talks to revive the 2015 deal “are going well,” calling on nuclear negotiators to continue "resisting America's excessive demands".
Ali Khamenei made the remarks in a meeting with heads of the three branches of government and several other current and former senior Iranian officials on Tuesday.
Negotiations that started more than a year ago in Vienna to restore the Iran nuclear agreement known as JCPOA stalled in March, with both Iran and the United States blaming each other for lack of "political will" to settle remaining issues.
"Absolutely do not wait for nuclear negotiations in planning for the country and move forward. Do not let your work be disrupted whether the negotiations reach positive or semi-positive or negative results," he said.
One of the unresolved issues is whether Washington would remove Iran's Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) from the US list of Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), as demanded by Tehran, for the deal to be revived.
Referring to the US exit from the JCPOA, Khamenei said it was Washington that failed to remain committed to its obligations, saying, "The United States broke its promises and now they have reached a dead end while Iran is not in such a situation”.
In 2018, then-president Donald Trump left the deal and reimposed ‘maximum pressure’ sanctions that have crippled Iran's economy. A year after the US withdrawal, Iran started to enrich uranium beyond the limits imposed on its nuclear program by the 2015 agreement that was supposed to make it harder to develop a bomb.
Khamenei said the fact that “arrogant Americans” explicitly acknowledge that ‘maximum pressure’ sanctions on Iran have failed “miserably” is a very important issue that should not be forgotten.
Referring to Iran’s situation he said, “There are problems, but they can be solved”. The economic indicators should not be the only basis for evaluating and judging the situation of the country and other indicators should also be considered, he added.
About criticizing the performance of the government that is being blamed for failing to deal with economic hardship, Khamenei said that “criticism should be based on an optimistic view and should not dispirit people”.
He also talked about recent developments across the region, particularly in Yemen and Israel.
He lauded the Palestinian youths’ “awakening, dynamism and hard work in their confrontation with the Israeli occupation”, adding that the recent attacks “showed that Palestine is alive despite the attempts of the United States and its stooges…With a continuation of the ongoing activities, the Palestinian people will achieve a final victory with God’s blessing”.
Israel is facing a new wave of deadly attacks, including shooting rampages and stabbings, during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan that has claimed the lives of at least 14 people so far. Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah and Palestinian militant group Hamas as well as Iranian hardliners and media affiliated with the Revolutionary Guard have been cheering the growing violence.
Khamenei also praised the UN-brokered ceasefire recently announced in Yemen as “a very good move” and glorified “Yemeni people’s bravery in facing the Saudi-led aggression against their country”.
Addressing the Saudis, he said “Why do you go ahead with the war that you already know there is no possibility [for you] to win? Find a solution and get yourselves out of this arena”.