Iran's Khamenei renews ban on talks with US

Reuters , Sunday 3 Nov 2019

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (Photo: REUTERS)

Iran will maintain its ban on talks with the United States, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday, describing the two countries as implacable foes a day before the 40th anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran.

"One way to block America's political infiltration is to ban any talks with America. It means Iran will not yield to America's pressure. Those who believe that negotiations with the enemy will solve our problems are 100% wrong," Khamenei, who is Iran's top authority, was quoted by state TV as saying.

Relations between the two foes have reached a crisis over the past year after U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned a 2015 nuclear pact between Iran and world powers under which Tehran accepted curbs to its nuclear programme in return for lifting sanctions.

Washington has reimposed sanctions aimed at halting all Iranian oil exports, saying it seeks to force Iran to negotiate to reach a wider deal. Khamenei has banned Iranian officials from holding such talks unless the United States returns to the nuclear deal and lifts all sanctions.

The anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. embassy shortly after Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution is marked in Iran with demonstrations of crowds chanting "Death to America" across the country.

The embassy capture cemented the hostility between the two countries which has remained a central fact in Middle East geopolitics and an important part of Iran's national ideology. Iran, which accused the United States of supporting brutal policies of its ousted Shah, held 52 Americans for 444 days at the embassy, which it called the Den of Spies.

"The U.S. has not changed since decades ago ... it continues the same aggressive, vicious behaviour and the same international dictatorship," Khamenei said.

"America has always borne hostility towards Iran."

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