Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has banned any further negotiations between Iran and the United States, putting the brakes on moderates hoping to end Iran’s isolation after reaching a nuclear deal with world powers in July.
According to a report from Reuters, his statements directly contradict those of moderate Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who says his government is ready to hold talks with the United States on how to resolve the conflict in Syria.
“Negotiation with America is banned because such negotiation will not only have no advantage [for Iran], but will also entail numerous disadvantages,” said Ayatollah Khamenei, addressing Navy commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC).
“Negotiations with America would mean paving the way for infiltration [of the United States] into the country’s economic, cultural, political and security domains.”
Reuters suggests that his comments might invigorate the hardliners seeking the impeachment of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif over shaking hands with U.S. President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.
“On and off the record, it was an accident,” Zarif said in an interview with New Yorker. “It has already cost me at home. But everything I do costs me at home, so this is not an aberration.”
(Source: Reuters, Office of the Supreme Leader)