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article imageAli Khamenei: No talk unless US and the West stop pressuring Iran

By Eko Armunanto     Feb 11, 2013 in World
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the United States is seeking talks while making threats, Iranian media reported. The United States was accused Thursday, by The Iranian supreme leader, of holding a gun to Tehran's head to pressure it to hold direct talks.
"The new administration, like its predecessors, has repeated the issue of talks between Iran and the U.S. And they say the ball is in Iran's court. The ball is in your court", said the supreme leader quoted by Reza Sayah and Shirzad Bozorgmehr for CNN.
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is ready to have talks with United States if the West stops pressuring his country, the latest in a series of hints from leaders in both Washington and Tehran about the prospect of direct bilateral negotiations over the Islamic Republic's controversial nuclear program; but Washington is highly unlikely to relax sanctions on Iran -- and Ali Khamenei said on key state decisions that Iran won't negotiate under threat. This makes it hard to envision how talks could take place.
“You pull away the gun from the face of the Iranian nation, and I myself will enter the talks with you”, said Ahmadinejad, as reported by Arab News, at a ceremony marking the 34th anniversary of the 1979 revolution that toppled a Western-backed monarch and ushered in the Islamic Republic.
There was nothing essentially new in the message to Washington from Iran’s president on Sunday, he was just repeating last week’s statement by the Iranian supreme leader that direct talks cannot happen as long as sanctions remain and underlined that he personally was ready to take part in one-on-one dialogue with the U.S. if Western economic pressures were eased.
Ahmadinejad's offer to represent Iran in possible future dialogue — whether real or rhetorical — was an indirect slap and suggests no easing of a political feud between Ahmadinejad and the ruling clerics. The supreme leader, not the president, oversees all critical matters of state, including picking envoys for international talks and setting policy toward Washington.
As reported by New York Times, The White House denied that a final agreement had been reached. “It’s not true that the United States and Iran have agreed to one-on-one talks or any meeting after the American elections,” Tommy Vietor, a White House spokesman, said Saturday evening. He added, however, that the administration was open to such talks, and has “said from the outset that we would be prepared to meet bilaterally”.
It has the potential to help Mr. Obama make the case that he is nearing a diplomatic breakthrough in the decade-long effort by the world’s major powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, but it could pose a risk if Iran is seen as using the prospect of the direct talks to buy time, Helene Cooper and Mark Landler reported for New York Times.
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