United States Institute of Peace

The Iran Primer

Khamenei: Red Lines on Nuclear Deal

On June 23, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei seemed to harden his stance on nuclear talks with the world’s six major powers. “All economic, financial and banking sanctions, either by the U.N. Security Council, U.S. Congress or [Obama] administration must be lifted on the same day a deal is signed,” he insisted in a speech on national television. The address came exactly a week before the deadline for a final agreement.

Khamenei issued seven specific red lines for the talks, some of which contradicted the White House fact sheet on the framework announced on April 2 by Iran and the so-called P5+1 countries —Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States. For example, the supreme leader rejected long-term restrictions of 10 years or more on research and development. 



The supreme leader also reiterated his support for Iran’s negotiating team, led by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, which has been under fire from hardliners. “I recognize our negotiators as trustworthy, committed, brave and faithful,” said Khamenei.
 
Secretary of State John Kerry, however, said Khamenei’s remarks would not affect the talks. “This is something that's been going on throughout the negotiations,” he said the next day. “It is not new. We are not going to be guided by or conditioned by or affected or deterred by some tweet that is for public consumption or domestic political consumption.”
 
The following are excerpted remarks from Khamenei's speech.
 
“While we were skeptical [of the Americans], we were ready to pay the price if the Americans kept their word because logical negotiations would have had consequences-- but shortly after the negotiations they started bringing excuses.”
 
“During the negotiations, the Americans promised 6 months [for lifting sanctions] but then they changed it to one year, and then by asking too much , they prolonged the negotiations and even spoke of more sanctions and military action.”
 
“We have said from the beginning that we want the cruel sanctions to be removed, and of course in return, we are willing to give concessions on the condition that our nuclear industry is not halted.”
 
 
“None of the nuclear powers sold us the 20 percent [enriched] fuel for medical purposes, and they even prevented others to sell the fuel to us. However, our young scientists produced the fuel rods and checkmated the other side. In addition to [production of ] the fuel, we had other achievements as well; in fact our resistance strategy worked, and the Americans concluded that sanctions don't have satisfactory results, and that they would have to find another solution.”
 
“They say the Agency [IAEA] has to be certain; what nonsense this is. How can they be certain? Only by inspecting every ‘inch’ of this country.”

 

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