(Photo credit: EPA)
During a speech on 17 February commemorating the anniversary of the popular uprising of the people of Tabriz, the leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei, reiterated Iran’s stance of developing its nuclear energy program for peaceful purposes only.
“They know we are not seeking that; that we are not looking for a nuclear weapon. We are looking to benefit from nuclear energy in peaceful ways. They know this. [But] They do not want the Iranian nation to achieve such an outstanding scientific progress and that’s why they are pressuring us,” Ayatollah Khamenei said, in reference to western efforts that seek to stall Iran’s nuclear energy potential.
“You see how oppressively the enemy front is focusing on the issue of our nuclear energy. They impose sanctions [on us] because of a nuclear energy [program] that they know is peaceful. And whatever they may say about Iran being a certain amount of time away from producing a [nuclear] bomb is nonsensical and meaningless,” the Iranian leader said.
Regarding Washington’s so-called “maximum pressure” sanctions campaign against Tehran, Ayatollah Khamenei said this is part of a larger strategy to make Iranian youth “stray from the path of the Islamic Revolution.”
“The enemies are using two tools to divide the people and the establishment and to engineer the people’s views and thoughts: economic hostility and media enmity,” the Iranian leader added, pointing to attempts by western media to smear the revolutionary process.
Khamenei also said that the Islamic Revolution was victorious due to the participation of the Iranian people and not “guns and political ploys and playing.”
His comments came just one day after Iran’s top negotiator in sanctions-removal talks in Vienna said that a deal with western powers is “closer than ever.”
After weeks of intensive talks, we are closer than ever to an agreement; nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, though.
Our negotiating partners need to be realistic, avoid intransigence and heed lessons of past 4yrs.
Time for their serious decisions. https://t.co/kRnSte9Bzu
— علی باقریکنی (@Bagheri_Kani) February 16, 2022
However, the Iranian envoy also noted that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”
At around the same time Bagheri Kani made his remarks, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price announced that Washington considers the next few days crucial to the restoration of the Obama-era Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“Our assessment is that we are in the midst of the very final stages of, as I said before, a complex negotiation with the key stakeholders here,” Price said.
“This is a decisive period during which we’ll be able to determine whether a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA is in the offing, or if it’s not.”