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Iran’s supreme leader today angrily turned down Vice President Joseph Biden’s offer for bilateral talks in what could be a reaction to last month’s explosions at the once-secret nuclear facility at Fordow.
Biden last week announced at the Munich Security Conference that the United States would like to engage in such talks with Iran over its illicit nuclear program. But for four years, President Obama tried that, without success.
Observers have said that the Islamic regime successfully engaged Obama in those secret negotiations to buy time for its nuclear development.
Iran has continued its uranium enrichment process unabated despite a series of international sanctions, and today over 10,000 centrifuges are spinning at the Natanz nuclear facility alone. In the wake of the reported explosions at Fordow, as reported exclusively on WND, Iran has notified the International Atomic Energy Agency that its Natanz facility will get upgraded centrifuges, which would allow it to create weapons-grade uranium faster.
In a speech Thursday to air force commanders, the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said, “We understand why America needs the negotiations. Their policies in the Middle East have failed, and in order to remedy that, they need a winning ace.”
He said bringing the Islamic Republic to the negotiating table is because, “They want to show the world they have good faith, but there is no good faith.”
Criticizing “simple-minded” Iranians who would welcome negotiations with America, Khamenei said talks won’t solve anything, and he warned that if anyone wants to help return America’s rule in Iran (referring to the shah era), they will be confronted.
“The nation has taught others in the last three decades … that they must stand against foreign powers and, with reliance on God, continue the independent move with progress,” he said.
As reported exclusively on WND, one of those meetings was held in Doha, Qatar, last October, where a three-person U.S. delegation met with their Iranian counterparts headed by Ali Akbar Velayati, Khamenei’s senior adviser. The U.S. delegation urged that the supreme leader announce a halt to enrichment, even if temporary, before the Nov. 6 elections, promising removal of some sanctions.
That negotiation was an extension of secret talks in early January 2012 when, according to Iranian officials and a report by Fars News Agency, Obama requested through three different channels collaboration with the Islamic regime: a letter to the supreme leader, a message to the Iranian U.N. delegate and a direct message through Swiss Ambassador Livia Leu Agosti in Tehran in a meeting with Iranian Foreign Ministry officials.
These negotiations go back to 2009 and, according to Hamidreza Zakeri, a former regime intelligence officer, in response to an Obama offer for bilateral talks, Khamenei appointed a team to engage the U.S. merely to buy time as it sought to develop nuclear weapons. The team consisted of:
- Velayati, the senior adviser on political and international affairs.
- Sheikh Asqar Hejazi, the head of intelligence in Khamenei’s office and a highly influential figure in Iranian intelligence circles.
- Vahid Haqanian, the executive head of Khamenei’s office known as Gen. Vahid.
- Ali Larijani, currently the Iranian parliament speaker.
- Mohsen Fakhrizadeh Mahabadi, the father of the regime’s nuclear program.
In response to the offer of talks, Iran set certain conditions, one being that, whether the talks succeeded or failed, they would remain highly confidential.
After the two parties agreed on the terms of confidentiality, they met in August 2009 in Ankara, Turkey. After reaching agreement on principles, follow-up meetings took place in February 2010 in Tbilisi, Georgia, where Velayati met his American counterpart. Then between April and June 2010, three more meetings were held, another in November 2011 in Kiev, Ukraine, and the next month in Bangkok, Thailand. Finally there was last October’s meeting in Doha.
Khamenei’s speech today follows interviews President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave Egyptian media Wednesday in Cairo during which he announced that Iran has already achieved nuclear capability and that should it be attacked by Israel, Iran remains ready to destroy the Jewish state.
The 5-plus-1 international talks are scheduled to resume with Iran on Feb. 26 in Kazakhstan. The 5-plus-1 refers to the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany.