Iran’s supreme leader dismissed the prospect of new negotiations with the West on Tuesday, even as the Tehran government spoke optimistically about the return of foreign companies in “the absence of Trump” and his sanctions.
President-elect Joe Biden’s victory has raised the possibility that the United States could rejoin a deal Iran reached with world powers in 2015, under which sanctions were lifted in return for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program.
President Donald Trump abandoned the deal in 2018, and Tehran responded by scaling down its compliance.
Biden’s staff says the former vice president aims to restore the deal provided that Iran again abides by it. But according to Reuters, diplomats and analysts have also said this was unlikely to happen overnight, as the adversaries would both want additional commitments.
Washington wants Iran to curb missile programs which are not covered by the nuclear deal, and reduce its interventions in the Middle East. Iran has long said it will not negotiate over missiles, and no talks can begin unless Washington returns to the nuclear agreement and lifts sanctions unconditionally.
In remarks reported by state television on Tuesday, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei expressed skepticism about the entire project of negotiating with the West.
“We once tried the path of having the sanctions lifted and negotiated several years, but this got us nowhere,” he said.
"We can't trust foreigners and hope for an opening on their part," he added.