Iranian ruler: No, we’re not going to talk with the US

posted at 11:21 am on February 7, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that Iran had agreed to new P-5+1 talks and expressed openness to direct negotiations with the US.  Today, the AP reports … not so much.  Iran’s real ruler — Supreme Ayatollah Ali Khameini — categorically rejected negotiations with the US, and might make the rest of the WaPo report yesterday less operative, too:

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.

In other words, nothing really changed at all. Iran has always been willing at times to open discussion with the P-5 group, but only on its own terms, and only for two purposes.  The first is to stall for time while their uranium enrichment programs gets closer to producing weapons-grade fissile material, at which point the game will be over entirely.  The second purpose is to attempt to divide the West to make it easier to accomplish the first purpose.

As Reuters notes, Iranian diplomacy is actually going in an entirely different direction.  The Shi’ite mullahs are seeking a “strategic axis” with the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood in … guess where:

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on the first visit to Cairo by an Iranian leader in more than three decades, called for a strategic alliance with Egypt and said he had offered the cash-strapped Arab state a loan.

In a step by Iran to advance ties that were broken in 1979, the Iranian foreign minister said Egyptian tourists and merchants would no longer require visas to visit, Egypt’s state news agency reported.

Hey, how’s that Arab Spring working out for us in the Middle East?  If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that Iran is attempting a form of encirclement with Israel, and showing that they’re not particular about Sunni/Shi’a rivalry to achieve their ends.  That kind of policy could only have been put into play by the collapse of American influence on that side of the Suez Canal, thanks to a bewildering insistence on quick elections after Hosni Mubarak’s fall when the Muslim Brotherhood had the only real organization in the field to contest them.

Looks like Egypt’s Sunni neighbors have noticed, too.  Morsi’s government tried to downplay Ahmadinejad’s visit:

Egypt’s foreign minister played down the significance of the visit, telling Reuters the Iranian leader was in Cairo chiefly for the Islamic summit beginning on Wednesday, “so it’s just a normal procedure. That’s all.”

He had earlier reassured Gulf Arab countries that Egypt would not sacrifice their security.

I wouldn’t bet on that, especially with Egypt’s oil reserves falling precipitously and Iran desperate for exports.


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Obama should campaign as hard against real evil as the does republicans.

tomas on February 7, 2013 at 11:25 AM

*WHOA* All the smart people told me that Sunni and Shi’i would NEVER collaborate becasue they were enemies and only dum ole’ unilateralist cowboy neo-con statists would EVER believe such things!?!?111

JFKY on February 7, 2013 at 11:27 AM

JFKY on February 7, 2013 at 11:27 AM

You might want to read this.

a capella on February 7, 2013 at 11:32 AM

Thirty-four years of this drivel! We didn’t give Saddam that long – time to finish this!

OldEnglish on February 7, 2013 at 11:32 AM

a capella on February 7, 2013 at 11:32 AM

YEah and Nazi’s and Communista were mortal enemies too, EXCEPT they both were dissident movments opposed to the Dominant, Liberal Paradigm…

You know much akin to the Shi’i in Iran and the various incarnations of the Ikhwan Muslameen, thru out the Middle East.

JFKY on February 7, 2013 at 11:36 AM

The House of Saud, right now, is the fireline. If they fall – very doubtful but who can predict the Middle East? – then all bets, and I mean all of them, are off.

I can’t see Egypt aligning with Tehran against Riyadh (the military won’t allow it I think). This is still going to be a Shi’a-Sunni split.

The Arabs hates the Persians and vice versa. More than the Sunnis hate the Shi’a. This is all show and no substance.

SteveMG on February 7, 2013 at 11:42 AM

JFKY on February 7, 2013 at 11:36 AM

When Iran gets the bomb, that means the Shiites are up 1-0 over the Sunni. How well d’you think that will wear?

a capella on February 7, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Ooops. Forgot about Pakistan. Aren’t the Pakis kind of a mixed bag?

a capella on February 7, 2013 at 11:46 AM

Ooops. Forgot about Pakistan. Aren’t the Pakis kind of a mixed bag?

Nope Sunni, IIRC.

JFKY on February 7, 2013 at 11:47 AM

When Iran gets the bomb, that means the Shiites are up 1-0 over the Sunni. How well d’you think that will wear?

a capella on February 7, 2013 at 11:45 AM

The day Iran breaks out, a nuclear weapons race will start in the ME. Saudi Arabia will not permit Iran to be the only nuclear power. If it has to purchase weapons from Pakistan or North Korea, it will.

Resist We Much on February 7, 2013 at 11:50 AM

The House of Saud, right now, is the fireline. If they fall – very doubtful but who can predict the Middle East? – then all bets, and I mean all of them, are off.

I can’t see Egypt aligning with Tehran against Riyadh (the military won’t allow it I think). This is still going to be a Shi’a-Sunni split.

The Arabs hates the Persians and vice versa. More than the Sunnis hate the Shi’a. This is all show and no substance.

SteveMG on February 7, 2013 at 11:42 AM

Right, and the Arabs hate black Africans, but they still work with them to advance their goal of jihad.

Sunnis and Shias have a long history of coming together to battle christians, jews and west. The Persians in Iran have been funding both sunni and shia Arab terrorist groups for 30 years. The wahabis in Saudi Arabia have been doing the same as well.

But yeah, in the long term, I don’t think we’ll see a stable Muslim caliphate. I think tribal differences between Turks, Persians, Arabs and Africans would be too much of an obstacle to overcome for the long term. Short term though? Who knows.

And the Sauds will definitely fall at some point. Buying off your citizens with huge giveaways and having a layabout dependent country might seem like a good way to keep the peace, but it won’t last forever.

Timin203 on February 7, 2013 at 11:51 AM

This is all one giant photo opportunity. These 2 hate each other, and not only because each has their own version of Islam. Iran is a national security threat to Egypt, and Egypt is part of the Sunni anti-Iran axis, and is by default a danger to Iran. There are decades of animosity between the 2 nation-states, and the whole Arab vs. Persian cultural superiority conflict going back centuries (with the exception of the Shia Arabs in Lebanon, some in Iraq, and the Shia-like Alawi Arabs in Syria). The only thing they have in common is each’s extremists wants to murder Jews. Other than that they and their interests are as different as anything you can imagine.

Iran has been trying to form an “axis” with the Gulf nations for a very long time, but no one is eager to do so because Iran is unwelcome and is hated.

AlexB on February 7, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Keep your heads clear.

Obama and his new treason experianced Sec. of State John F. Kerry know how to make deals with commies behind our backs so it will not be that much of a strech for them to cut treason deals with the singers of the must beautfull sound Obama ever heard.

Fast and Furious

Dead Amba. Stevens who was helping Obama run guns via Libya to Turkey to Syria.

The Turkish Amb. left the Bengazie 30 min before the terror attack.
He delivered the gold for the guns etal.
The terrorist got the go from the local cops that the gold was there, the gold got robbed too.

Tax and Spend from the pure CO2 lie, a lie so bad to be treason.

They are aginst U.S. and within.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on February 7, 2013 at 11:52 AM

Obama should campaign as hard against real evil as the does republicans.

tomas on February 7, 2013 at 11:25 AM

Kinda hard for the rat-eared bastard to campaign against real evil considering that HE himself is real evil. I’m serious about that. I see nothing in the man that is good, honorable, or worth supporting. He is a vain sociopath married to a bitter racist whore. He surrounds himself with truly radical individuals who have in fact committed acts of terror against this nation. He attacks our strongest allies and gives aid and comfort to our enemies (not the least of which is Egypt). He will never be held to account for all the crimes he has committed against this nation and its laws.

Happy Nomad on February 7, 2013 at 11:54 AM

If it has to purchase weapons from Pakistan or North Korea, it will.

Resist We Much on February 7, 2013 at 11:50 AM

The diabolical in me suggests that Israel offers to sell a couple.

OldEnglish on February 7, 2013 at 11:54 AM

…so Hagel won’t have to wear his knee pads?

KOOLAID2 on February 7, 2013 at 11:58 AM

If it has to purchase weapons from Pakistan or North Korea, it will.

Resist We Much on February 7, 2013 at 11:50 AM

You realize there are technical/physics problems with this, right? Al-Qaida might buy one from North Korea, for immediate use, but otherwise nuclera weapons aren’t like 5.56mm ammunition. You can’t just keep them in the igloo until you need them. They take a significant amount of maintenance to remain usable and hence a threat.

So if Saudi Arabia “buys” one they are actually buying a program of procurement and maintenance, not just a clandestine “one-off” purchase.

Not saying it wouldn’t happen, but do realize the actual magnitude of the deal.

JFKY on February 7, 2013 at 11:59 AM

The diabolical in me suggests that Israel offers to sell a couple.

OldEnglish on February 7, 2013 at 11:54 AM

At one level the House of Saud wold rather be under the US Nuclear umbrella and barring that, probably would support an Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, even allowing passage of Saudi airspace, I’d imagine….

They MIGHT even accept a tacit nuclear guarantee from Israel….the enemy of my ebnemy and all that.

JFKY on February 7, 2013 at 12:01 PM

Surprised? I didn’t think so. There isn’t one politico out there that is surprised either. It has all been lip service, both those with hammers and those with offerings. This is what you get when you try to tame a cockroach.

Limerick on February 7, 2013 at 12:03 PM

The diabolical in me suggests that Israel offers to sell a couple.

OldEnglish on February 7, 2013 at 11:54 AM

I’ve thought of that, but Saudi Arabia is the major source of funding for Islamism. Israel might be supplying the weapon that would lead to its destruction. Further, the monarchy is not as stable as many would like to believe.

JFKY on February 7, 2013 at 11:59 AM

No shyt. Of course the Saudis realise what such a purchase would encompass.

My statement about the Saudis purchasing nukes from Pakistan or North Korea once Iran breaks out is not mere uninformed speculation on my part. It is the position of many in intelligence and national security around the world.

Resist We Much on February 7, 2013 at 12:10 PM

They MIGHT even accept a tacit nuclear guarantee from Israel….the enemy of my ebnemy and all that.

JFKY on February 7, 2013 at 12:01 PM

What a delicious prospect!

OldEnglish on February 7, 2013 at 12:12 PM

From the CS Monitor:

Turning the screw

But yesterday the US tightened sanctions against Iran, forcing Iranian oil importers into barter arrangements to further restrict cash flow into the country. The sanctions are the latest in a host of measures by the US and European Union that have crippled Iran’s economy by choking its oil exports, central bank, and most financial transactions.

The moves taken yesterday were described by a senior Obama administration official as “a significant turning of the screw” that will “significantly increase the economic pressure on Iran.”

“Does imposing, in your own words, crippling sanctions show goodwill or hostility?” Khamenei asked today. “Iran will not accept to negotiate with he who threatens us with pressure. The offer of talks is meaningful when the other side shows goodwill.”

Before Pearl Harbor, the U.S. was also “turning the screws” too tightly on Japan choking off Japan’s ability to import resources. The Emperor saw this as a threat large enough to take out our Pacific Fleet. Historically, this could end up like cornering a “defenseless badger”……..just sayin’

Rovin on February 7, 2013 at 12:19 PM

No shyt. Of course the Saudis realise what such a purchase would encompass.

Really, because US politicians were surprised, in the 1990’s of the actual involvement required, just to ‘arm” folks opposed to Serbian militias. Further, I was trying to dispel any ignorance, at Hot Air, concerning nuclear weapons. Oft’ times it seems people have some odd and fanciful ideas about weaponry in the real world.

Which leads to the larger point, really they’ll buy that package of weapons and services, from No. Korea, even at the obvious diplomatic cost associated with it? Ditto, Pakistan? Because, as I say, you aren’t just buying 20 tons of conventional munitions here, you are actually undertaking a significant diplomatic/technological/financial/personnel undertaking here. One that would be IMPOSSIBLE to hide. And in the case of No Korean involvement, probably one that No Korea would report or allow to be reported, as it would undermine the coalition opposed to it and help drum up further customers for its wares….

JFKY on February 7, 2013 at 12:20 PM

Which leads to the larger point, really they’ll buy that package of weapons and services, from No. Korea, even at the obvious diplomatic cost associated with it? Ditto, Pakistan? Because, as I say, you aren’t just buying 20 tons of conventional munitions here, you are actually undertaking a significant diplomatic/technological/financial/personnel undertaking here. One that would be IMPOSSIBLE to hide. And in the case of No Korean involvement, probably one that No Korea would report or allow to be reported, as it would undermine the coalition opposed to it and help drum up further customers for its wares….

Yes, if Iran goes nuclear.

And, you will notice that I did not say that this was Saudi Arabia’s only option. I wrote “If it has to purchase weapons from Pakistan or North Korea, it will.”

Saudi Arabia, obviously, could decide to start their own nuclear weapons programme.

This subject has been covered frequently in Jane’s Defence Weekly and Foreign Policy magazine, among others, over the years.

Resist We Much on February 7, 2013 at 12:39 PM

Before Pearl Harbor, the U.S. was also “turning the screws” too tightly on Japan choking off Japan’s ability to import resources. The Emperor saw this as a threat large enough to take out our Pacific Fleet. Historically, this could end up like cornering a “defenseless badger”……..just sayin’

Rovin on February 7, 2013 at 12:19 PM

Ooh…interesting perspective and good reminder. History DOES repeat itself.

MelonCollie on February 7, 2013 at 12:41 PM

Rovin on February 7, 2013 at 12:19 PM

MelonCollie on February 7, 2013 at 12:41 PM

In your fantasy scenario it would have been better to have filled the emperor’s oil bunkers as a peace offering. If so Yamamoto wouldn’t have had to turn the carriers around after Dec 7th. He could have let them linger and finish the job once and for all.

If you think these sanctions force Iran’s hand you are fooling yourself. She is coming for blood anyway. Stop her now before she can.

Limerick on February 7, 2013 at 1:10 PM

I wasn’t sure what meloncollie was getting at, Limerick…since s/he and I ahve bad blood I didn’t want to ask.

But I will, now, say, melon what is the overall thrust of your comment? A statement, an indictment, what?

JFKY on February 7, 2013 at 1:14 PM

I’ve been trying to understand the Middle East all of my adult life. I came to the conclusion some years back that they are all just crazy. If they didn’t have the oil to sell they would be living in abject poverty.

SC.Charlie on February 7, 2013 at 1:24 PM

Perhaps if Comrade O orders Biden and Kerry to get down on their hands and knees and beg Iran’s leaders will agree to give us an audience and let us talk to them a few minutes.

farsighted on February 7, 2013 at 2:16 PM

But I will, now, say, melon what is the overall thrust of your comment? A statement, an indictment, what?

JFKY on February 7, 2013 at 1:14 PM

My point was that sanctions can either cripple a nation or irritate it to action…Japan obviously did the latter and Cuba has done the former. In the modern world sanctions very rarely hurt the people we intend them to because there are so many other trade routes and black markets.

Limerick’s point was to make a Delta Indigo Charlie Kilo of himself.

MelonCollie on February 7, 2013 at 5:09 PM

I’ve been trying to understand the Middle East all of my adult life. I came to the conclusion some years back that they are all just crazy. If they didn’t have the oil to sell they would be living in abject poverty.

SC.Charlie on February 7, 2013 at 1:24 PM

If we could somehow remove all the viable oil (I mean literally, like a huge-arse fleet of tankers) and sprayed long-term defoliant over their poppy fields, their entire modern movement would fall apart at the seams. Those are their two biggest income sources and oil is the biggest by far.

It’s no coincidence that before they found out they were squatting on liquid gold, they hadn’t posed anything approaching a serious threat to the West for hundreds of years. Short of old-fashioned Alexander-like campaigns, without any serious income they couldn’t do jack.

MelonCollie on February 7, 2013 at 5:17 PM