Iran's Khamenei renews ban on talks with US

Iran will maintain its ban on talks with the United States, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday, describing the two countries as implacable foes a day before the 40th anniversary of the seizure of the US embassy in Tehran.


President Hassan Rouhani speakes during a press conference in the Iranian capital Tehran, October 14, 2019. (File photo: VCG)

"One way to block America's political infiltration is to ban any talks with America. It means Iran will not yield to America's pressure. Those who believe that negotiations with the enemy will solve our problems are 100 percent wrong," Khamenei, who is Iran's top authority, was quoted by state television as saying.

Relations between the two foes have reached a crisis point over the past year after US President Donald Trump abandoned a 2015 nuclear pact between Iran and world powers under which Tehran accepted curbs to its nuclear program in return for lifting sanctions.

Washington has reimposed sanctions aimed at halting all Iranian oil exports, saying it seeks to force Iran to negotiate to reach a wider deal. Khamenei has banned Iranian officials from holding such talks unless the United States returns to the nuclear deal and lifts all sanctions.

Last Thursday, the US extended its sanctions on Iran's construction sector as  US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the sector is "heavily influenced by Iran's Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC)." 

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif Friday lashed out at the decision, saying it shows "maximum failure" of Washington's anti-Iran policy.