News ID: 20081
Publish Date : 01 November 2015 - 21:23
Ayatollah Khamenei:

U.S., Iran Are 180 Degrees Apart

TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on Sunday warned against foreign countries dictating Syria’s political future and rejected direct talks with the U.S. on regional issues following recent negotiations in Vienna.
"We believe it doesn’t make sense that other countries get together and decide about a governing system and the head of that state,” Ayatollah Khamenei told a group of Iranian diplomats and government officials. "This is a dangerous initiative which no country in the world would accept to be done for itself.”
The fate of the Syrian head of state—President Bashar al-Assad—has long been a crux of disagreement between Iran and the U.S. in forging a political solution to the Syria war. Iranian officials are expected to adhere to the views of Ayatollah Khamenei, who has final say in most matters of state.
Iranian officials say it is up to the Syrian people to decide whether he stays in power as part of any peace settlement. The U.S. and its regional Arab allies, meanwhile, back numerous armed groups opposed to Assad’s rule.
Ayatollah Khamenei said Sunday that elections must take place in Syria, but that it was imperative first for money and arms to stop going to opponents of President Assad.
"First war and unrest should end so that the Syrian people can elect anyone they want in a peaceful and calm environment," the Leader said.
For most of Syria’s war, the U.S. has insisted that Assad leave power, but that stance has moderated recently. American officials now say the president could stay in power, but only as part of a political transition that eventually sees him go.
Iranian officials have characterized this moderation as a victory for Iranian diplomacy. But many differences remain over Syria’s political future, among other regional issues.
The U.S. joined Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia and many other countries in a new round of Syria talks in Vienna on Friday.
Following the meetings, the countries agreed to continue discussions in the coming weeks, under the understanding that Assad would keep his position for the time being.
The summit marked the first time Iran had been invited to high-level Syria talks alongside Saudi Arabia, raising fresh hope for a negotiated solution to the conflict, which the UN estimates has killed more than 200,000 people and displaced millions.
But despite sitting at the table alongside the U.S. in Vienna, Ayatollah Khamenei on Sunday reiterated his distrust of American intentions in the region.
The Leader has stressed in recent speeches that Iranian distrust of the U.S. hasn’t dimmed despite the historic nuclear accord it reached in July with six world powers, including the U.S.
"The main reason for regional insecurity is the U.S. support for the Zionist regime and terrorist groups, and these policies are 180 degrees different from those of the Islamic Republic,” Ayatollah Khamenei said Sunday.
"The Americans are trying to impose their own interests, not resolve issues, 60 or 70 percent through negotiations and the rest through illegal actions. So what is the meaning of negotiating with them?" the Leader said.
Ayatollah Khamenei also warned against importing American consumer goods as the IslamicRrepublic prepares for the lifting of sanctions.
The Leader advised authorities to "be watchful about irregular imports after lifting sanctions and seriously avoid importing consumer goods from the United States".
Iran's imports from the U.S. reportedly reached $140 million in the first half of 2015, around 60% higher than in the same period in 2014. The imports mainly consist of medical devices, food and seeds.
Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Muhammad Reza Nematzadeh said on Saturday Iran will block imports of American goods in line with the Leader’s order to develop an "economy of resistance”.   
"We will implement the blockade on imports of American goods,” he said, adding his ministry would issue a directive to all respective bodies to enforce the regime.
Ayatollah Khamenei wrote a letter to President Hassan Rouhani recently, demanding that the government take seriously the "economy of resistance", focusing on self-reliance instead of basing Iran's economy on external sources.
The Leader also instructed the government to guard against "unbridled imports" and check the entry of all goods from the United States when sanctions are lifted.