Iran Won’t Be Coerced Into Talks With U.S., Khamenei Says

Iran won’t be coerced into holding direct negotiations with the U.S. while being threatened and simultaneously squeezed by Western sanctions, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said.

“The U.S. holds a gun at Iran and says we need to negotiate,” Khamenei, the highest authority in Iran and the ultimate decision maker in the state’s affairs, said today at a meeting of air force commanders. “They say the ball is in Iran’s court. The ball is in your court, and you need to answer: What is it worth to negotiate under threats and in the absence of good intentions?”

Negotiations with the U.S. “won’t solve a thing,” Khamenei was quoted as saying by the state-run Mehr news agency. “Some are either naive or badly intentioned and they rejoice over talks with the U.S.”

His remarks came as new U.S. financial restrictions against Iran took effect yesterday and days after Vice President Joe Biden said at the Munich Security Conference the U.S. is ready for direct talks with the Persian Gulf nation over its nuclear program when the Iranian leader shows commitment to negotiate.

Iran, under investigation by the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency for a decade over alleged nuclear-weapons research, says it only wants atomic technology for peaceful purposes.

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