In a speech on Tuesday, Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei discussed US sanctions and the Iranian nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The incoming Biden administration could mean a change in US policy and a move towards diplomacy with Iran, but Khamenei seems skeptical of trusting the US.
Khamenei said there are two paths, either the US can lift sanctions or Iran can overcome them. “We tried the path of lifting sanctions once and negotiated for years, but it led to no results,” he said.
After the JCPOA was signed in 2015, the US withdrew from the deal by reimposing sanctions on Iran in 2018. For this reason, Khamenei said Iran should work towards nullifying US sanctions, which would mean making Iran independent of most global banking and economic systems.
“If we can overcome sanctions through hard work and innovation and taking problems as they come, and the other side sees that sanctions are ineffective, they will gradually stop sanctioning,” he said.
“The situation in the United States is not clear and the Europeans are constantly taking a stand against Iran,” Khamenei said. He went on to attack the UK, France, and Germany for criticizing Iran. “While they themselves have the highest amount of incorrect meddling in the region’s affairs, they tell us not to interfere in the region.”
Last week, the UK, France, and Germany released a statement condemning Iran for violating some limitations set by the JCPOA. Iran responded by pointing out that the US violated the deal first.
Since the Trump administration withdrew from the JCPOA, Iran has been gradually violating its limitations to gain leverage for future negotiations. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif have both recently said that Iran can quickly come into compliance with the JCPOA if the US lifts sanctions.