Iran’s Khamenei says sanctions failed, no talks with Trump

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addresses the nation in a televised speech marking the Eid Al-Adha holiday, in Tehran, Iran, July 31, 2020. (AP Photo)
Short Url
Updated 31 July 2020

Iran’s Khamenei says sanctions failed, no talks with Trump

  • Khamenei said Western “think-tanks admit that the maximum pressure (policy) of sanctions and US force has not succeeded”
  • Khamenei said he would not agree to meetings that were aimed only at boosting Trump’s re-election hopes

TEHRAN: Iran will not open talks with the United States that will only benefit Donald Trump, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Friday, insisting the US president’s sanctions policy had failed.
Decades-old tensions between Tehran and Washington have soared in the past year, with the sworn enemies appearing several times to come to the brink of war.
The tensions have been rising since 2018, when Trump withdrew the United States from a landmark nuclear accord and unilaterally reimposed crippling sanctions.
“There is no doubt that sanctions are a crime,” Khamenei said in a televised speech.
“But the smart Iranian has made the best use of this attack, this animosity and benefited... by using sanctions as a means to increase national self-reliance.”
Khamenei said Western “think-tanks admit that the maximum pressure (policy) of sanctions and US force has not succeeded.”
The 2015 deal between Tehran and major powers promised relief from sanctions in return for limits on Iran’s nuclear program.
After abandoning the accord, the United States reimposed sanctions on Iran’s vital oil exports and its access to the international banking system, and pressured allies and rivals alike to fall in line.
Iran has responded by trying to boost its non-oil exports, particularly to neighboring countries.
“This has caused the country’s economy to be naturally less reliant on oil,” Khamenei said, casting the development in a positive light.
Khamenei condemned calls for Iran to open new talks with the United States, saying he would not agree to meetings that were aimed only at boosting Trump’s re-election hopes.
The 81-year-old even called Trump an “old man,” even though he is seven years older than the US president.
“This old man in charge, he apparently made some propaganda use out of his negotiations with North Korea. Now he wants to use (talks with Iran) for the (November 3 US presidential) election.”
Khamenei said that in return for new talks, the US would demand: “Reduce your defensive capability, destroy your regional power and give up the vital nuclear industry.”
“No logic dictates giving into the aggressor’s demands,” he said.
He also accused European partners to the nuclear deal of “having done nothing” to provide Iran with the economic benefits of the accord and said their barter system designed to bypass US sanctions was a “useless plaything.”
The system, called Instex, is meant to function as a clearing house and allow European companies to deliver medical supplies to Iran without being exposed to sanctions.
Britain, France and Germany announced they had carried out the first transaction through the mechanism in late June, over a year and a half after it was established.


France’s Macron to host donor conference for blast-stricken Lebanon

Updated 10 min 42 sec ago

France’s Macron to host donor conference for blast-stricken Lebanon

  • Rebuilding Beirut could run into the billions of dollars
  • Economists forecast the blast could wipe up to 25% off of the country’s GDP

PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron will host US President Donald Trump and other political leaders on Sunday for a UN-endorsed donors’ conference by video to raise emergency relief for Lebanon following this week’s massive explosion in Beirut.
Lebanon was already mired in deep political and economic crisis when the blast ripped through its main port on Tuesday, killing 158 people, injuring more than 6,000 and destroying a swathe of the city.
Rebuilding Beirut could run into the billions of dollars. Economists forecast the blast could wipe up to 25% off of the country’s GDP.
Many Lebanese are angry at the government’s response and say the disaster highlighted the negligence of a corrupt political elite. Protesters stormed government ministries in Beirut and trashed the offices of the Association of Lebanese Banks on Saturday.
Macron visited Beirut on Thursday, the first world leader to do so after the explosion, and promised the Lebanese people humanitarian aid would come but that profound political reform was needed to resolve the country’s problems and secure longer term support.
“I guarantee you, this (reconstruction) aid will not go to corrupt hands,” Macron told the throngs who greeted him.
There has been an outpouring of sympathy for Lebanon from around the world this week and many countries have sent immediate humanitarian support such as a medical supplies, but there has been an absence of aid commitments so far.
Trump will participate in the video-link conference.
“Everyone wants to help!” he tweeted.
Germany will commit an additional 10 million euros ($11.79 million) in emergency aid on top of the rescue contributions already underway, its foreign minister said.
A Macron aide declined on Saturday to set a target for the conference. Emergency aid was needed for reconstruction, food aid, medical equipment and schools and hospitals, the official said.
Representatives of Britain, the European Union, China, Russia, Egypt and Jordan are expected to join the conference, hosted by Macron from his summer retreat on the French Riviera. Israel and Iran will not take part, the Elysee Palace official said. ($1 = 0.8485 euros)