Iran's Khamenei rebuffs U.S. offer of direct talks

Thu Feb 7, 2013 3:12pm EST
 
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By Marcus George

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran's highest authority, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Thursday slapped down an offer of direct talks made by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden last week, saying they would not solve the problem between them.

"Some naive people like the idea of negotiating with America, however, negotiations will not solve the problem," Khamenei said in a speech to officials and members of Iran's air force carried on his official website.

"If some people want American rule to be established again in Iran, the nation will rise up to face them," he said.

"American policy in the Middle East has been destroyed and Americans now need to play a new card. That card is dragging Iran into negotiations."

Khamenei made his comments just days after Biden said the United States was prepared to meet bilaterally with the Iranian leadership. "That offer stands but it must be real and tangible," Biden said in Munich on Saturday.

With traditional fiery rhetoric, Khamenei lambasted Biden's offer, saying that since the 1979 revolution the United States had gravely insulted Iran and continued to do so with its threat of military action.

"You take up arms against the nation of Iran and say: 'negotiate or we fire'. But you should know that pressure and negotiations are not compatible and our nation will not be intimidated by these actions," he added.

Relations between Iran and the United States were severed after the overthrow of Iran's pro-Western monarchy in 1979 and diplomatic meetings between officials have since been very rare.   Continued...

 
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during the 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran, in this file photo taken August 30, 2012. REUTERS/Hamid Forootan/ISNA