Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Iranians he “made a mistake” in remarks Wednesday in allowing his foreign minister to speak with Secretary of State John Kerry during negotiations for the Iran nuclear deal.
The deal, signed by the United States under Barack Obama in 2015, ensured the lifting of international sanctions against Iran, which Iranian leaders claimed would revitalize the economy. Instead, most of the funds went into Iran’s proxy operations in places like Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen, and the Iranian economy is currently in one of its worst states in the modern era. Khamenei did not appear apologetic for the economy, however.
“With the issue of the nuclear negotiations, I made a mistake in permitting our foreign minister to speak with them. It was a loss for us,” Khamenei said.
President Donald Trump recently pulled the U.S. out the deal, citing its leniency and Iran’s failure to comply, and has begun reimposing sanctions that are likely to have a detrimental effect on the country’s already weakened economy.
The White House has indicated that they will only lift sanctions should Tehran negotiate a tougher deal, which Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri has described as an attempt to make them “retreat and surrender.”
“The first priority for all of us under a sanctions situation is to work toward managing the country in a way that brings the least amount of damage to people’s lives,” Fars News quoted Jahangiri as saying. “America is trying by applying various pressures on our society to force us to retreat and surrender.”
President Hassan Rouhani blamed the U.S. for the breakdown of the deal and declared will “not let the enemy bring us to our knees.”
“America itself took actions which destroyed the conditions for negotiation,” Rouhani also said, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). “There were conditions for negotiation and we were negotiating. They destroyed the bridge themselves. If you’re telling the truth then come now and build the bridge again.”
Rouhani added that he had begun negotiating with countries around the world to promote prosperity.
“In the latest visit to Kazakhstan, we had good negotiations with our neighboring countries and, at the same time, we are negotiating with Europe and elsewhere in Asia,” Rouhani said.
Trump last week warned countries against investing or signing deals with Iran or risk losing their relationship with the United States.
“The Iran sanctions have officially been cast. These are the most biting sanctions ever imposed, and in November they ratchet up to yet another level,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States. I am asking for WORLD PEACE, nothing less!”