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Khamenei: 'No guarantee' nuclear deal will be reached

"The other side is stubborn, difficult to deal with, breaks promises and is a backstabber." - Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

By
Doug G. Ware
During a televised speech on April 9, 2015, Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei expressed contempt for 5+1 negotiators and said there is no guarantee that a final nuclear agreement will be reached. Photo: UPI/Leader.ir/HO
During a televised speech on April 9, 2015, Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei expressed contempt for 5+1 negotiators and said there is "no guarantee" that a final nuclear agreement will be reached. Photo: UPI/Leader.ir/HO | License Photo

TEHRAN, April 9 (UPI) -- Iran's supreme leader is in enough disagreement with the Obama administration over the framework of a nuclear deal, which was reached last week, that some wonder whether an accord can be finalized by the deadline.

Last week's agreement between U.S. and five ally nations and the Iranian government calls for putting Tehran's nuclear program on a peaceful track for a period of ten years. In exchange, certain economic sanctions against Iran will be lifted subsequently.

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The deal's outline must now be fully detailed, agreed and ratified by June 30.

While many have expressed optimism that an agreement will be finalized, Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Thursday said there are points on which there remains disagreement, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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Specifically, there are two points of contention. First, Khamenei said the sanctions must be lifted in their entirety at the time a deal is ratified. The White House, though, insists on lifting the restrictions only after it becomes clear that Tehran is complying with nuclear restrictions -- a process that could take some time.

The demand to have sanctions lifted immediately was repeated earlier Thursday by Iranian President Hasan Rouhani.

Also, Khamenei said Thursday his government will not allow foreign officials to inspect Iran's military bases -- where United Nations inspectors believe nuclear development activities had previously occurred.

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As the nation's military bases are not linked to Iran's nuclear program, it is unclear whether the 5+1 negotiators will insist on inspection of those military bases.

Thursday's were Khamenei's first public comments since the deal framework was agreed upon last week.

"Everything done so far neither guarantees an agreement in principle nor its contents, nor does it guarantee that the negotiations will continue to the end," he said in a speech.

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Khamenei also expressed contempt for the Western nations involved in the talks.

"The other side is stubborn, difficult to deal with, breaks promises and is a backstabber," Khamenei said.

Thursday, Obama said the Ayatollah's remarks were expected and that he remains optimistic that a deal will be completed in time.

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What was not expected, however, was what U.S. analysts saw as a signal from Khamenei indicating that a successful nuclear deal might also open the door to cooperation in other matters.

"If the counterpart stops its bad behavior, one could expand this experience to other issues," Khamenei said.

A successful nuclear deal would translate to a substantial boost in Iran's fiscal health. In particular, Tehran could finally release millions of barrels of crude oil onto the global market and jump start its fractured economy -- oil that is now in storage, due to the sanctions.

U.S. negotiators, led by Secretary of State John Kerry, will continue to try and hammer out details of the agreement and get it signed by the first of July.

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