On Sunday, without fanfare or Rose Garden ceremony, President Barak Obama ordered the U.S. government to begin the process of lifting sanctions against Iran. The European Union also passed legislation Sunday allowing its members to start looking at ending sanctions.
“I welcome this important step forward, and we, together with our partners, must now focus on the critical work of fully implementing this comprehensive resolution that addresses our concerns over Iran’s nuclear program,” Obama said Sunday. Obama said Iran has also started carrying out its side of the deal — removing centrifuges, slashing its uranium stockpiles, and filling the Arak heavy-water nuclear reactor with concrete — all to ensure it cannot build a nuclear weapon.
However, Iranian leaders aren’t discarding their playbook when it comes to their relationship with the United States and Israel. In a speech before Iran’s Navy commanders, the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader told his audience that their nation’s talks with the United States negotiators, including Secretary of State John Kerry, left Iran with a number of disadvantages.
Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Tuesday officially banned any further negotiations between Iran and the Obama administration, and said he was putting the brakes on the government’s moderates who had hoped to put an end to Iran’s isolationism by agreeing to a nuclear pact with the U.S., NATO and the United Nations.
Khamenei, who is the highest authority in the radical Islamic country, had mentioned last month that there would be no more negotiations between Iran and the United States after the nuclear deal, but it is only now he made an official announcement.
The Ayatollah’s statements appear to go against the so-called moderate Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who had claimed to U.S. State Department officials that his government is prepared to negotiate with Secretary Kerry and his minions on a number of subjects such as dealing with Syria’s civil war, in which Iran has joined Russia and now Cuba in supporting the Assad regime against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Nursra Front and secular freedom fighters who are backed by the Obama White House.
“Negotiations with the United States open gates to their economic, cultural, political and security influence. Even during the nuclear negotiations they tried to harm our national interests,” Khamenei was quoted as saying. “Our negotiators were vigilant but the American [representatives] took advantage of a few chances,” he said. Although he supported the last 18 months of negotiations, Khamenei has yet to endorse the nuclear pact with the United States, European countries, China and Russia.
While the agreement hasn’t been officially signed by President Barack Obama, already the Russian government has been making deals with Iran on weapons systems and a missile defense. Two years ago, the Iranian government threatened to sue the Russians in the international court for failure to deliver a shipment of medium-range missiles.
In addition, last week Iran’s news service reported that the Republican Guard maintains a well-protected underground facility in which it stores long-range ballistic missiles, Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency reported. Footage of the underground missile bunker was aired on Iranian state television. According to the report, a cache of ballistic missiles were displayed including a model with a range of about 1,800 miles. That specific missile is a threat to Israel and to U.S. military installations and embassies in the region.
Iran state television showed on Sunday what the government claims was “a successful launch of the new Iranian missile, named Emad, which appears to be nation’s first precision-guided weapon with the capability hitting the Iranians number-one enemy, Israel. It’s no secret that Iran hope to develop a long-range ballistic missile capable of striking the United States and its territories.
“What does the Obama administration and its supporters think will be the payload on those long-range missiles? And doesn’t President Obama fear that this treaty only gave Russia an open-door to Iran for selling weapons?” asked former military intelligence officer and police counterterrorism unit commander Michael Snopes.
“And what was the Obama administration’s reaction to the missile tests? The State Department simply said that the missile test was apparently a violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution and they will raise it at the United Nations. I’m sure Iranians — and their Russian friends — are quaking in their boots,” Snopes quipped.