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Iran’s New Parliament Speaker Kicks Off Term by Rejecting Negotiations with US

Iran’s New Parliament Speaker Kicks Off Term by Rejecting Negotiations with US

Monday, 1 June, 2020 - 05:15
Iranian parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf (C) chairing a parliament session in the capital Tehran on May 31, 2020. (AFP)
London - Adil al-Salmi

Iran’s new parliament speaker Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf closed on Sunday the door to any negotiations between Tehran and Washington, describing such talks a “futile.”

In his first major speech to the conservative-dominated chamber on Sunday, Ghalibaf also criticized the Iranian government, and sent a direct message to his opponent during the last presidential election in 2017, Hassan Rouhani for his “ineffective” political record.

The 58-year-old speaker pledged to guide the government policy in the “right revolutionary direction.”

He said the country’s executive office is “in turmoil” and preoccupied with external affairs rather than issues affecting Iranians hard-hit by US sanctions.

Ghalibaf called on the newly formed parliament to adopt a “revolutionary and logical attitude” towards the government to guide it onto the right path.

“Parliament considers negotiations with and appeasement of America, as the axis of global arrogance, to be futile and harmful,” he said.

Ghalibaf, a former commander of the Revolutionary Guards' air force, was elected speaker on Thursday after February elections that swung the balance in the legislature towards ultra-conservatives.

He vowed revenge for the US drone attack in January that killed Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Guards’ foreign operations arm.

“Our strategy in confronting the terrorist America is to finish the revenge for martyr Soleimani’s blood. This would entail the total expulsion of America’s terrorist army from the region,” he said.

According to Iranian news agencies, Ghalibaf reaffirmed the parliament’s commitment to supporting pro-Iranian militias in Palestine, Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq.

He then called for ties to be improved with neighbors and with “great powers who were friends with us in hard times and share significant strategic relations,” without naming them.

In a tweet posted last Saturday, the speaker had criticized Washington over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, during an arrest in Minneapolis that led to widespread protests across the country.

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