mostlycloudy
Saturday August 1st, 2015 1:48AM

Iran's supreme leader rejects direct talks with US

By The Associated Press
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran's supreme leader Thursday strongly rejected proposals for direct talks with the United States, effectively quashing suggestions for a breakthrough one-on-one dialogue on the nuclear standoff and potentially other issues.

The statement posted on Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's website echoes previous remarks opposing bilateral talks with Washington in parallel with stop-and-start nuclear negotiations with world powers, including the U.S., which are scheduled to resume later this month.

But the latest comments marked Khamenei's first reaction since the idea of direct talks received a high-profile boost earlier this week from U.S. Vice President Joe Biden during a security summit in Munich attended by Iran's foreign minister.

Khamenei's statement also could spill over into the negotiations in Kazakhstan later this month between Iran and a six-nation group comprising the permanent U.N. Security Council members plus Germany. His apparent references to U.S. sanctions - saying Washington was "holding a gun" to Iran - suggests Iranian envoys will likely stick to demands for relief from the economic pressures before considering any nuclear concessions.

The U.S. this week further tightened sanctions on the Islamic Republic, which have already cut Iran's oil revenue by 45 percent. The new measures seek to cut deeper into Iran's ability to get oil revenue. It calls on countries that buy Iranian crude - mostly Asian nations including China and India - to set the money aside and require Iran use it buy local products rather than get cash.

"They say the ball is in Iran's court. The ball is in your court," said Khamenei. "You have to be accountable and explain what it means to offer talks while simultaneously continuing pressure and threats."

American proposals for direct dialogue with Iran received a cautious welcome Sunday from Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, but with caveats that Washington needs to quiet its "threatening rhetoric" for the offer to get real consideration by Tehran's ruling clerics.

All major decisions in Iran must be cleared by Khamenei, who has previously opposed direct negotiations with Washington and has shown no inclination of changing his positions.

"Talks will not solve any problems," Khamenei said in the statement posted Thursday following a meeting with air force commanders.

"You are holding a gun against Iran saying, `Talks or you'll fire.' The Iranian nation will not be frightened by such threats," he added in apparent reference to U.S. sanctions over Iran's nuclear efforts.

Washington has indicated in the past that it's prepared to talk directly with Iran on the nuclear issue, but so far nothing has come of it. Meanwhile, the wider talks between Iran and world powers have made little headway. Three rounds last year ended in stalemate with Tehran pushing for a roll back of Western sanctions in exchange for any key concessions on its nuclear program.

The West and allies fear that Iran's uranium enrichment labs could eventually produce weapons-grade material. The Islamic Republic claims it only seeks nuclear fuel for energy reactors and medical applications.

The U.S. and Iran broke ties after the storming of the American Embassy in Tehran in the wake of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Iranian militants held 52 American hostages for 444 days.

"I am not a diplomat. I am a revolutionary and I express my words honestly," Khamenei was quoted as saying.

He noted that some factions inside Iran seek the direct U.S. talks due to their "naivety." He did not elaborate, but called for the need to challenge U.S. efforts to return "domination" over Iran - a reference to the pro-Western shah that was toppled by the Islamic Revolution.

"Talk is meaningful if it is based on goodwill, equal standing and when both sides do not want to apply tricks," said Khamenei. "Talk as a tactic, a gesture of superpower, is only a deceptive move."

Khamenei, however, has shown some flexibility in the past over contacts with Washington. Iran and the U.S. have taken part in talks regarding Iraq and Afghanistan.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 1 year ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
Ethics laws set to take effect Jan. 1 in Georgia
After dominating much of the legislative session, a set of major ethics reforms is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.
7:04PM ( 1 year ago )
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Judge blocks release of recordings by anti-abortion group
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal judge on Friday blocked the release of any recordings made at meetings of an abortion providers' association by an anti-abortion group that previously revealed secretly...
10:50PM ( 2 hours ago )
Dozens of Clinton emails censored for security reasons
WASHINGTON (AP) — Dozens of emails that traversed Hillary Clinton's private, unsecure home server contain national security information now deemed too sensitive to make public, according to the latest...
5:54PM ( 7 hours ago )
Not guilty plea in federal court for church shooting suspect
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The white man accused of gunning down nine parishioners at a black church in Charleston wants to plead guilty to 33 federal charges, but his lawyer said in court Friday that he...
2:30PM ( 11 hours ago )
Back to Beijing for 2nd Olympics in 14 years
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Throughout more than 120 years of Olympic history, no city has hosted both the winter and summer games. Now, Beijing will be the first do it — and in the span of just 14...
10:11AM ( 15 hours ago )
US paychecks grow at record-slow pace in 2nd quarter
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. wages and benefits grew in the spring at the slowest pace in 33 years, stark evidence that stronger hiring isn't lifting paychecks much for most Americans. The slowdown also lik...
9:19AM ( 16 hours ago )