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Iran's supreme leader says 'cowardly' US cannot be trusted

As Iran awaits a new president set to take office Aug. 3, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the West cannot be relied upon in future negotiations.

As the United States and other Western nations await for the new Iranian administration to take over Aug. 3 in order to complete negotiations on the nuclear deal, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has suggested that deep differences still remain.

In a July 28 meeting with outgoing President Hassan Rouhani and his Cabinet, Khamenei summed up the Rouhani administration's performance as “uneven.” He said while some of the administration's performance went “as expected,” other aspects did not.

Khamenei added that the next administration must learn from the experiences of the current one. One lesson Khamenei wants the next administration to learn is that the West cannot be trusted. He added, “With this administration it became clear that trusting the West does not yield results and that [the West] will not help and will inflict harm wherever they can. And if there is a place that they cannot inflict harm it is because they can't.” 

Khamenei continued, “Absolutely we cannot make domestic plans conditional on the West.” 

"The Americans acted completely cowardly and maliciously," he said.

Addressing the Cabinet officials directly, Khamenei said, “Wherever you made the work conditional on the West and the Americans and negotiations with them, you were not successful. And whenever you took action without trust in the West and you had no hope in them you were successful.” 

On the current process of negotiations in Vienna, particularly between Iran and the United States, to revitalize the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Khamenei said, “The Americans have stood firm on their stubborn positions and have not taken one step forward.” Khamenei, however, did thank “some” of the negotiators who have been traveling to Vienna. It is unclear why he only thanked some and not all. Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi is leading the current negotiations day to day. The negotiations are reported to resume once President-elect Ebrahim Raisi takes office Aug. 3.

Khamenei said one of the obstacles in the negotiations is that Washington wants to insert a sentence into the agreement that would require Iran to negotiate on missiles and regional issues in the future. Khamenei said that if Iran refused to negotiate on these issues, it would be accused of violating the nuclear deal. 

Khamenei also said that the United States was asked to guarantee that it will not exit the nuclear deal again but that the administration of President Joe Biden refused to guarantee this. President Donald Trump exited the nuclear deal in 2018 and reapplied sanctions. In response, Iran took steps away from full compliance of the deal. 

In recent weeks Rouhani has publicly complained that had Iran's parliament not passed a bill called the Strategic Action to Remove Sanctions, the negotiations in Vienna would have been resolved in March. Among other things, the bill complicated negotiations by reducing Iran's cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

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