TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Monday that there would be neither war nor negotiations with the United States.
“Recently, US officials have been talking blatantly about us. Beside sanctions, they are talking about war and negotiations,” he said via his official Twitter account in English.
“In this regard, let me say a few words to the people: THERE WILL BE NO WAR, NOR WILL WE NEGOTIATE WITH THE US.”
There has been widespread speculation over whether Iran would be forced back to the negotiating table following Washington’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposition of sanctions.
Why do we not negotiate with the U.S.? pic.twitter.com/4LDBfDjRw1
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) August 13, 2018
But Iran has rejected fresh talks, saying the US can no longer be trusted after violating its commitments under the deal.
In a speech in Tehran, Khamenei also said Monday that the country’s economic problems, exacerbated by the sanctions, were the result of internal mismanagement by the government and not just US pressure.
“Economic experts and many officials believe the cause of this issue is not foreign, it’s internal,” he said in a speech in Tehran, according to tweets released on his official account.
“Not that sanctions don’t have an impact, but the main factor is how we handle them.”
He referred specifically to the collapse of the country’s currency, the rial, which has lost around half its value since April.
“If our performance is better, more prudent, timely and effective, sanctions will not have that much effect and can be resisted,” he added.
The speech was not immediately televised. They are usually broadcast later in the day.
There have been widespread protests and strikes in recent weeks over high prices, unemployment and the wider management of the economy.
Analysts say US hostility, including its withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposition of sanctions, helped fuel the run on Iran’s rial.
But many say it has only exacerbated longstanding problems within Iran — and pressure has mounted from within the system on President Hassan Rouhani to improve his management of the economy and tackle corruption.