Iran's Khamenei warns against hopes of 'opening' with West

By: AFP      Published: 09:22 PM, 24 Nov, 2020
Iran's Khamenei warns against hopes of 'opening' with West

Iran's supreme leader cautioned Tuesday against hopes of a diplomatic "opening" with the West, after President Hassan Rouhani's government signalled a willingness to engage with US President-elect Joe Biden.

Biden, who defeated Donald Trump at the ballot box on November 3, has promised a return to diplomacy with Iran after four hawkish years under the departing US president.

At a meeting with Rouhani, parliament speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf and judicial chief Ebrahim Raisi, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said "we can't trust foreigners and hope for an opening on their part".

"We tried to lift sanctions once and negotiated for several years, but to no avail," his office quoted him as saying, in reference to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

The agreement that gave Iran relief from sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme has been hanging by a thread since 2018 when Trump unilaterally withdrew and reimposed punitive measures.

In response, the Islamic republic has gradually reduced its commitments to the deal.

Since Biden's election victory, the Rouhani government has sent out signals on multiple occasions indicating it is ready to open up with the incoming US administration.

But Khamenei warned that "the situation in the United States is not clear and the Europeans are constantly taking a stand against Iran", according to the statement from his office.