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Ayatollah Khamenei: No nuclear deal unless sanctions 'lifted immediately'

By Andrew V. Pestano
Ayatollah Khamenei: No nuclear deal unless sanctions 'lifted immediately'
Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivered a speech on Tuesday where he stated no commitments will be fulfilled until sanctions are "lifted immediately." File Photo by UPI/Leader.ir/HO | License Photo

TEHRAN, June 24 (UPI) -- Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said no commitments will be fulfilled unless sanctions are "lifted immediately" and apparently reeled back from agreements nuclear negotiators have made.

"All economic, financial and banking sanctions, implemented either by the United Nations Security Council, the United States Congress or the administration, must be lifted immediately when the deal is signed," Khamenei said in a speech Tuesday. "Unlike the insistence from the Americans, we do not accept long-term limitations of 10, 12 years, and we told them how many years [of] limitations we are ready to accept."

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The "inspection of our military sites is out of the question and is one of our red lines," Khamenei added.

Khamenei made the comments as the deadline to reach a nuclear deal with Iran draws near, June 30. The United States, the U.K., Russia, France, Germany and China are negotiating with Iran.

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The comments seemingly undercut some previously reached agreements. The decade-or-so-long freeze on Iran's sensitive nuclear enrichment was announced in April.

Khamenei has the final authority on all policy and nuclear matters.

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"America is after destroying our nuclear industry altogether. Our negotiators' aim is to safeguard Iran's integrity... and our nuclear achievements during the talks," Khamenei added.

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The comments could limit the flexibility of Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in negotiating with the West.

"My best judgment is that this is about leverage," Cliff Kupchan, chairman of Eurasia Group, a political risk research and consulting firm, told The New York Times. "This is the last time to get the best possible deal. I think what he's shooting for is the most sanctions relief he can get as soon as he can get it, and the least intrusive inspection regime going forward."

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