“Negotiations with the US will not resolve our problems, because firstly, it is a liar, disloyal, cheater and stabber in the back, and secondly, the US itself is crisis-stricken – and how can a crisis-hit country resolve another country’s problems?”Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei said in Tehran on Wednesday, addressing a large gathering of Iranian school students and teachers.
The speech was dedicated to Students Day, when Iran marks the beginning of a 444-day hostage situation at the US Embassy in Tehran. On November 4, 1979, amid the Islamic Revolution, Iranian students broke into the diplomatic mission and took 52 American citizens hostage. The anniversary is marked on November 3 this year because the country observes an Islamic calendar.
Khamenei is a known sceptic toward possible rapprochement with the US, regularly criticising Washington for not delivering on its promises. In his latest speech, he said the tenor of the presidential campaign in America indicated its moral bankruptcy and a general crisis of leadership.
Iran and the US have had difficult relations ever since the 1979 revolution in Iran. Under the Obama administration, relations between the two countries somewhat thawed as Tehran and six leading world powers negotiated a deal, under which Iran agreed to restrict its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.
The deal was pushed forward by reforming Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, with Supreme Leader Khamenei remaining sceptical, but neutral. The outcome angered hardliners in both countries as well as Iran’s regional adversaries like Israel and Saudi Arabia.
In Iran the effect from the lifting of sanctions is viewed by many as underwhelming, as only those related to the nuclear program were lifted or eased. The US kept in place sanctions relating to Iran’s rocket development, alleged sponsorship of terrorism and other issues.