Iran’s Supreme Leader: We won’t negotiate with West over regional presence

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei can be seen in this file photo. (Reuters)
Updated 08 March 2018
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Iran’s Supreme Leader: We won’t negotiate with West over regional presence

LONDON: Iran will not negotiate with the West over its presence in the Middle East, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, days after the visiting French foreign minister sought to discuss Tehran’s role in regional conflicts.
Jean-Yves Le Drian traveled to Tehran on Monday with a brief to reaffirm Europe’s support for a nuclear deal that opened Iran’s economy while echoing US concern about Tehran’s missile program and its influence in the region.
“European countries come (to Tehran) and say we want to negotiate with Iran over its presence in the region. It is none of your business. It is our region. Why are you here?” Khamenei was quoted as saying by his official website.
Khamenei said Iran would only negotiate on that issue with other states in the region.
“We will negotiate with America, when we wanted to be present in America,” he added.
US President Donald Trump has threatened to pull out of the nuclear deal unless three European signatories help “fix” the accord by forcing Iran to limit its sway in the Middle East and rein in its missile program.
French President Emmanuel Macron has criticized the program and raised the possibility of new sanctions.
Tehran supports Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad in the government’s war against rebel forces, including groups backed by the West, and is an ally of Israel’s enemy Hezbollah in Lebanon.


Iran confirms death of blogger held on security charges

Updated 33 min 41 sec ago
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Iran confirms death of blogger held on security charges

  • “The political prisoner Vahid Sayyadi Nasiri, on hunger strike since October 13, 2018"

DUBAI: Iranian authorities have confirmed the death of a social media activist jailed on security charges, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported on Sunday, after Western rights groups said he had died following a 60-day hunger strike in prison.
“The political prisoner Vahid Sayyadi Nasiri, on hunger strike since October 13, 2018 to protest the denial of his right to counsel and inhumane prison conditions..., has died at the Shahid Beheshti Hospital in Qom,” the US-based Center for Human Rights in Iran said on its website.
ISNA quoted an unidentified source as saying Nasiri had been jailed twice for belonging to a royalist group and planning acts of sabotage including an explosion. He had been taken from prison to a hospital where he died due to a liver disease on Dec. 12, the source said, without referring to a hunger strike.
Mehdi Kaheh, the prosecutor in the city of Qom, earlier said Nasiri had been serving a sentence for “insulting Islamic sanctities” on social media when he fell ill and was taken to hospital where he died, the state broadcaster IRIB reported on its website. Kaheh did not refer to a hunger strike.
Iran, whose officials often warn of efforts by foreign enemies to infiltrate state institutions, has detained scores of journalists and social media activists in recent years, and many others have gone into exile.
In November, Reporters Without Borders said Iran had launched a new crackdown on journalists in which several had been questioned and three arrested in connection with social network posts.
Iran rejects criticism of its human rights record by international human rights bodies as politically motivated and based on a lack of understanding of Islamic laws.