Khamenei OKs talks with US on Iraq

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Supreme Leader of Iran, Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has approved talks with the United States to deal with the security situation in Iraq but has said the discussions won't involve other outstanding issues between the two countries such as Iran's nuclear program.

Khamenei, as the supreme leader of Iran, has the final say in all state issues under Iran's Rule of the Islamic Jurisprudence. Moreover, he is the highest-ranking Islamic cleric in Iran and also has a considerable following in Iraq, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, and other parts of the Islamic world.

Khamenei make his remarks in a speech in Mashhad where he said, "Iran's policy of not negotiating and having relations with America remains the same until the policies of this arrogant government change."

The United States and Iran have broken diplomatic relations since the Iran hostage crisis in 1980. Tehran has in the past called the United States the "Great Satan" and the enemy of Islam. Khamenei believes that rejecting a thorough discussion of all the disagreements between the United States and Iran is a "firm, logical and defendable policy." The Leader of Islamic Revolution said,

How could one talk with an arrogant, bullying, expansionist and colonizing American government especially in tenure of its current rude, disrespectful and insolent authorities?"

These most recent remarks by Khamenei come after the brief exchange of greetings by Condoleezza Rice and Manouchehr Mottaki at the Sharm el-Sheikh conference in Egypt without a substantive discussion of the security situation of Iraq.

In 2005, Khamenei declared that the United States was responsible for terrorism in Iraq and said, "The presence of aliens in Iraq is harmful and destructive to the Iraqi people." He also exhorted the American forces to withdraw.

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