Key Khamenei Aide Calls for Direct US-Iran Talks

Says P5+1 Talks Should Also Involve Side Talks With Everyone

In comments that suggest a major rebuke to Iran’s hardliners, Ali Akbar Velayati, a top foreign policy aide to Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, expressed support for bilateral talks with every P5+1 member nation, including the United States.

“We aren’t on the right path if we don’t have one=-on-one talks with the six countries,” Velayati warned, saying he believes having only the talks with the P5+1 as a whole supports an idea of “unity” against Iran.

Hardline politicians have opposed the P5+1 talks themselves, and have been harshly critical of the Rouhani government for even broaching bilateral contact with the US after decades of acrimony.

Velayati’s comments are a de facto Khamenei endorsement for the idea, and mean it will be almost impossible for hardliners to suggest that the idea is not acceptable as part of Iranian policy.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.