Sanctions will not ‘force’ Iran into talks
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s car is surrounded by wellwishers upon his arrival to the northeastern city of Bojnourd, Iran. ABACAPRESS photoIran will not give in to “bullying” at the negotiating table with world powers over its disputed nuclear program despite new economic sanctions, its supreme leader said yesterday.
The West “keeps saying pressure against Iran is aimed at forcing the Islamic republic to return to the negotiating table” about the nuclear program, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in remarks carried on state television. “But when did we leave the table that now we need to return?” he asked during his visit to the northeastern province of North Khorasan, according to Agence France-Presse. “Their real objective is [forcing] the Iranian nation to surrender to their bullying at the negotiating table... [but] you are too weak to bring Iran to its knees,” said Khamenei. His remarks came a day after the European Union toughened sanctions against Tehran, targeting its dealings with Iran’s banks, shipping and gas imports and banning trade in metals.
Without directly mentioning the sanctions, Khamenei accused the European leaders of seeking to bully Iran. “European officials are still stuck in the bullying mindset of the colonial 19th century, but they will face many problems in the face of the resistance of the Iranian nation and officials,” he said. Khamenei has termed the Western sanctions as “barbaric” and said they amount to “a war against a nation.” But he has said Iran can overcome problems caused by the sanctions.
Khamenei’s remarks came after Iran’s Foreign Ministry said the EU sanctions will not force Tehran back into nuclear negotiations table.
“We think the error in calculation which these countries are pursuing will distance them from a favorable result,” ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told a news conference, Reuters reported. “We recommend that, instead of taking the wrong approach and being stubborn and using pressure ... with a logical approach they can return to discussions.”
EU foreign policy Chief Catherine Ashton said on Oct. 15 that she hoped turning up the heat on the Iran would persuade it to make concessions and that negotiations could resume “very soon.” But Mehmanparast rejected that possibility, saying “illogical” and “inhumane” sanctions would only make Iran more determined in its stance.
Israel praises sanctions
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the EU yesterday for its sanctions against Iran.
“These sanctions are hitting the Iranian economy hard,” he said in an address to EU diplomats. “We’ll know they are achieving their goal when the centrifuges stop spinning and when the Iranian nuclear program is rolled back.”