Khamenei: 'Negotiation With America is Forbidden'

By Patrick Goodenough | October 21, 2015 | 4:15am EDT
A tweet posted on an official Iranian regime Twitter account on October 17 quoted supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as saying that 'negotiation with America is forbidden.' (Image:

( – As the Iran nuclear agreement formally began earlier this week, the Islamic regime posted a Twitter message highlighting a recent declaration by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei prohibiting negotiations with the United States.

The illustrated tweet, posted the day before the nuclear deal’s “adoption day” on Sunday, quoted excerpts from a speech Khamenei delivered to Islamic Revolution Guards Corps navy commanders and families on October 7.

“For America negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Iran means penetration. This is their definition of negotiation and they want to open the way for imposition,” it said. “Negotiation with America is forbidden, because of its countless detriments and because of alleged advantages of which it has none whatsoever.”

Khamenei’s prohibition comes after – and despite – some 20 months of negotiations between Iran, the U.S. and five other powers that produced the controversial agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) last July.

The speech, posted on an official website, was one of several over recent months to warn young Iranians in particular that America and other foes were seeking to use the nuclear deal as an opening to infiltrate the country with their cultural influences and destroy Iran’s Islamic values.

“[Iran’s enemies] want to change both revolutionary and religious thoughts and the ideas that are related to the interests of the country,” Khamenei said. “Of course, we are aware of their activities and we know exactly what they are doing. And youth are the main target.”

Khamenei drew a clear distinction between negotiating with the U.S. – labeled “the Great Satan” – and doing so with other countries.

“We negotiate with certain governments. We negotiate with European governments, with Latin American governments. All these things are negotiations. We have no problems with negotiation,” he said.

“We negotiate with them and we have no problems with that, but for America negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Iran means penetration. This is their definition of negotiation and they want to open the way for imposition.”

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addresses members of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Navy and their families on October 7, 2015. (Photo Office of the Supreme Leader)

Accusing the U.S. of collaborating with “the Zionist orientation,” he said that negotiating with the Americans “means opening the way for their penetration in economic, cultural, political and security areas.”

During the nuclear talks, Khamenei said, U.S. negotiators had found opportunities to act against Iran’s national interests “whenever they were allowed to enter the arena.”

“What is forbidden is this: Negotiation with America is forbidden, because of its countless detriments and because of alleged advantages of which it has none whatsoever. This is different from negotiating with such and such a government that neither has such resources nor such motivations.”

‘Final word’

On Monday, another senior Iranian cleric endorsed Khamenei’s no negotiation stance, calling it “the final word” on the matter.

“The supreme leader, with his great insight, realized that this is all a dangerous conspiracy by its enemies,” said Ayatollah Hassan Mamdouhi, a member of the Assembly of Experts, a top body of religious scholars.

“For Iran, the disadvantages of the negotiations and relations with the U.S. are greater than the benefits,” a Shi’ite news service quoted Mamdouhi as saying. “No one who is aware and loves his country would want to inflict damage on his country through such a relationship and engagement.”

“The supreme leader’s command must be the final word for all officials and political groups and there should not be division and disunity that we have seen over this issue in the country as this is the main aim of the enemies.”

Khamenei’s prohibition of negotiations with the U.S. stands in contrast with some signals sent by other Iranian officials over recent months.

Just days before the JCPOA was finalized in marathon talks in Vienna, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s lead negotiator, released an English video statement in which he said Iran was ready to “strike a balanced and good deal and open new horizons to address important common challenges.”

“Our common threat today is the growing menace of violent extremism and outright barbarism,” Zarif added, alluding to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL).

The following month, at a time when the Obama administration was lobbying to win congressional support for the JCPOA, Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters in New York, “Iran specifically said to us. ‘If we can get this agreement, we are prepared to talk to you about the other issues,’ and I believe that is an opportunity.”

In his address at the U.N. last month, Iranian President Hasan Rouhani called the nuclear agreement “a development which can and should be the basis of further achievements to come … it can serve as a basis for foundational change in the region.”

Other officials in Tehran have dismissed the idea of cooperating with the U.S. against ISIS, as Iran is doing with its allies Iraq, Syria’s Assad regime, and Russia.

“We have no plans to for joint work with the U.S. against Da’esh [ISIS], but we will continue our help and consultations at the request of the Iraqi and Syrians governments,” Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said over the summer.

Iranian officials from Khamenei down have also made clear that a nuclear agreement will not change Tehran’s regional policies, including its ballistic missile program and support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and proxies like Hezbollah in Lebanon.

During the nuclear talks, Iran refused to address non-nuclear issues, whether missile development, human rights at home, the incarceration of American citizens, or regional cooperation.

The U.S. and other negotiating partners acceded to that, with the administration saying repeatedly that the talks were focused solely on the nuclear issue.

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