By HASSAN BEHESHTIPOUR
The following text deals with the highly significant remarks of Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, the Leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, on April 9, 2015. In addition to giving an analysis of the Lausanne statement, the Leader shed light on the developments in Yemen and gave crucial guidelines in his speech. Below is an analysis of some parts of the Leader’s statements on the nuclear talks between Iran and P5+1 group.
The Leader initially touched upon eight key issues about the nuclear negotiations. Ayatollah Khamenei then clearly laid out seven points of concern about the continuation of the talks. Finally, the Leader cited Iran’s five main demands that must be met in future negotiations.
A. Basic issues in future talks
1. No deal, no stance
“Some ask why the Leader has not adopted any stance on the recent nuclear negotiations. The reason is that it is pointless to take a stance at this juncture because state and nuclear officials say nothing has been finalized yet and there is no binding agreement between the two sides. Such a situation does not call for assuming a stance.”
This, in fact, was a warning to all those who had gone to extremes – those who had called it a historic achievement realized that they should not send out the wrong message to the enemies and lead them to conclude that the Iranian people are satisfied with such a result and will not seek their main legitimate rights.
On the other hand, it was a warning to all those who compared the Lausanne statement with the Treaty of Turkmenchay, creating suspicion among Iranians about the negotiators and the country’s future. The Leader also warned them against making hasty judgments as the Lausanne statement imposes no obligations on Iran.
2. Neither for, nor against
“If I am asked to say whether I agree or disagree with the outcome of the recent nuclear talks, I will say I neither approve nor disapprove of it because nothing has been finalized yet. The real difficulty will emerge henceforth, when the details are to be discussed, because the other side is stubborn, has a record of breaking promises, is bad in making deals, stabs in the back and may put the country, people and negotiators in a bind during the discussions on the particulars. What has been done so far neither guarantees the agreement itself nor its contents, nor does it guarantee that the negotiations will end up producing a deal. So, extending congratulations now is pointless.”
The Leader also astutely showed the P5+1 group that his expectations are beyond those stated in Switzerland and that they should not assume that the Iranian people are content with this level of demands.
3. No optimism in talks with Americans
“I was never optimistic about talks with the United States and this is not due to an illusion but because of the experience that exists. If the details of the issues, circumstances and memos of the ongoing nuclear negotiations are released in the future, all would find out what our lack of optimism stems from.”
The Leader’s pessimism about the ill-wishing nature of the enemy is, in fact, a strategy for foiling the subterfuge of a foe who takes very opportunity to exploit the Iranian side’s goodwill.
4. Support for specific talks with US
“Although I was never optimistic about negotiating with the US, I wholeheartedly supported and continue to support these specific negotiations.”
The main reason behind the Leader’s support for talks with an unreliable enemy is that Iran is trying with heroic flexibility to disarm the enemy of the pretext of the construction of nuclear weapons in Iran. In other words, with the decision to enter into talks, Iran has revealed that the enemy is after fabricating excuses. If we achieve the desirable result, we will be triumphant, and if the talks do not yield the favorable result, it will be a scandal for the Americans, who will be to blame for the failure of the negotiations.
5. Talks with US only nuclear
Having reiterated that talks with the United States only focus on nuclear issues and no other topics, Ayatollah Khamenei underlined:
“Of course, nuclear negotiations are an experience. If the other side stops its misconduct, this experience can be repeated on other issues. But if the other party persists with its misbehavior, our previous distrust of the United States will deepen.”
In this part of his speech, the Leader noted that the US still has the chance to make up for its wrongdoings, underscoring that if Washington adopts a correct policy on nuclear negotiations, the positive move could lead to talks about the other issues of difference between Iran and the United States. Otherwise, Iran’s previous strategy, based on the distrust of the US, will continue.
6. Support for a deal preserving Iran’s honor
“I express my one-hundred-percent support for a deal that safeguards the honor of the Iranian people, and if someone says the Leader is opposed to reaching an agreement, he will be wrong.”
Ayatollah Khamenei stressed that he fully backs an agreement that preserves the interests and honor of the country and people but also said, “[Reaching] no deal is better than [signing] a bad deal since it is better to refuse an agreement that does not serve the Iranian people’s interests and does not respect the people’s dignity than to agree with a deal that would seek to humiliate Iran’s people.”
The resistance of the Iranian people over the past 12 years has had a specific goal. This objective is to resist against the bullying of the United States and its allies and safeguard the independence and dignity of a nation that is determined to show the world that it can – a nation that considers as its inalienable right the use of peaceful nuclear energy with all its components including uranium enrichment. Any deal that fully respects the Iranian nation's nuclear rights is honorable and the Islamic Republic will be consequently committed to implementing it and any agreement that does not observe Iran's nuclear rights and does not lead to the removal of sanctions will not be acceptable.
7. Leader won’t engage in details
"It is sometimes said that the details of talks are under the supervision of the Leader, but this is not an accurate statement. I am not indifferent to the negotiations, but I did not and will not become involved in the details of the talks. I have talked about the main issues, macro-policies, frameworks and red lines mainly to the president and the foreign minister in some cases, but the details are their (Rouhani and Zarif’s) responsibility."
Ayatollah Khamenei, in this part of his remarks, gives a precise and clear response to one of the common speculations. Ayatollah Khamenei says he does not engage himself in the particulars of the negotiations, but at the same time the Leader highlights his responsibility in the higher level management of the process of the talks by emphasizing that he had adopted macro-policies and set the bounds, frameworks and red lines in the negotiations.
8. Trust in negotiating team
"I have trusted and never doubted the executors of the nuclear talks, and I hope it will be the same in the future. But I have serious concerns about the nuclear talks."
The Leader's trust in the negotiating team is the main asset of the group that has scored great successes for the nation through following the guidelines of Ayatollah Khamenei.
B. Leader's concerns about nuclear talks
In addition to his crucial guidelines, Ayatollah Khamenei in an address to the Iranian people, the negotiating team in particular, clearly outlined his main concerns in the form of the following seven issues:
1. Lies and deceits
"An example of such a behavior by the other side was witnessed in recent talks. The White House released a several-page statement (fact sheet) to explicate [the result of] the talks only about two hours after the end of the negotiations, contradicting the realities in most cases."
In fact, the release of the text showed that it was prepared by the United States' Department of State before the talks in Lausanne had even concluded so as to deceive the public opinion inside and outside of the US. They had outlined a fact sheet that contradicted the agreed issues with the aim of presenting their demands within the next three months as topics that have already been settled in Lausanne.
2. Breaking promises
"As another example, after every round of talks they publicly make some remarks but then in private say that the remarks are meant to save face and counter their [internal] opponents; but these issues are not our concern."
Ayatollah Khamenei rejected such an unacceptable policy where American negotiators take a certain stance during talks and make unreal statements after negotiations in order to appease the opposition. According to the Leader, Iranian authorities who enjoy their people’s trust, share different issues precisely, transparently and without any cover-up with them because the Islamic establishment has nothing to hide. In fact, people will be informed of the outcome of negotiations after each round, but the details of talks will be publicized after negotiations are finalized.
3. Deceptive smiles, empty promises
"We should not be deceived by the other side's smiles and we should not trust its promises. The stance and remarks of the US president after the recent statement are a clear example. Also, we have to be careful in our dealings with the other party in the upcoming talks and pay attention to their ulterior motives and not merely their statements during negotiations."
One of the strategies of the arrogant Western powers is to charmingly make empty promises and deceive the other negotiating side. So, the Leader has seriously warned the Iranian negotiators against accepting their false promises without adequate guarantees. Our negotiators should never be tricked by their smiles and overlook their ill-intentions for expanding their hegemony.
4. No exaggeration, no hasty assessment
"Officials might say that the three-month deadline for striking a deal does not leave enough time for consultation and listening to the words of the critics. In response it must be said that the three-month deadline is not an immutable issue and there is nothing wrong if the deadline is extended just as the other party extended it for seven months at one point during the negotiations."
There are some among proponents and opponents of the Lausanne statement who exaggerate the outcome of the talks in Switzerland, calling it a big achievement for the country. The Leader warns about any exaggeration because the final deal has not been struck yet. The opponents of the Lausanne statement have also been urged to evaluate it accurately and refrain from making hasty assessments and judgments about it.
5. Letting people, elite in on details
"Officials, who are honest and keen on national interests, should invite and talk to distinguished critics. If there was a [positive] point in the critics arguments, they should use it to better advance the negotiations or convince the critics if there was no [positive] point in their arguments. This is a manifestation of solidarity and converging of beliefs and actions."
The Leader has attached great significance to the expert views of critics who out of care and commitment to national interests express essential points. Ayatollah Khamenei says it is imperative to pay due attention to their arguments. If the critics have proposed correct points, paying attention to them can help the negotiating team and if the issues put forward are not deemed worthy, they should be responded to precisely and convincingly because in order to create an atmosphere of solidarity and cooperation between the people and administration, what is required more than anything else is to convince the opposition.
6. Nuclear achievements must not be downplayed
"That some so-called progressive thinkers ask, ‘What is the need for a nuclear industry?’ is deceptive. The need of the country for state-of-the-art nuclear technology in the areas of energy, radiopharmaceuticals, desalination of seawater and agriculture is no secret to anyone. The main feature of the country's nuclear industry is that the acquisition of this very important industry has been the result of the blossoming of the inherent talents of the Iranian youths. Therefore, the progressive trend of the nuclear industry should continue."
7. Criminals accusing Iran
The Leader of the Islamic Revolution pointed to the claims of some criminal states like the US, which has already used nuclear bombs, or France, which has conducted dangerous nuclear tests, and said, "They accuse us of trying to build nuclear bombs, whereas Iran’s Islamic establishment has never been and will never be after nuclear weapons on the grounds of a religious fatwa and rational principles and considers nuclear arms as source of trouble."
C. Leader's expectations
In the concluding part of his speech, Ayatollah Khamenei referred to the following five main issues as the red lines to be observed by the negotiators:
1. Simultaneous removal of sanctions
The Leader of the Islamic Revolution said the officials must seek the termination of the sanctions all at once after the final deal is signed, adding, "The issue is of great significance and all sanctions must be abolished entirely on the day of the agreement."
Ayatollah Khamenei pointed out, "If the removal of sanctions is subjected to a new process, talks will be meaningless in principle because the objective of the negotiations is the abolition of sanctions."
2. Security sites off-limit
Touching upon the issue of inspections, Ayatollah Khamenei said, "They should by no means be allowed to penetrate the country’s security and defensive perimeters under the pretext of supervisions, and the country's military officials are also not allowed to permit foreigners into these confines or stop the defensive development of the country under the pretext of supervisions and inspections."
3. No halt in defense facilities development
"It is imperative that the defensive capability of the country and the nation’s powerful fist in the military arena remain as strong and even grow stronger by the day. Also, the support for our brothers [practicing] resistance in different places should by no means be dented throughout the negotiations."
4. No to unconventional inspections
Talking about the supervision of Iran's nuclear program, the Leader underlined, "No unconventional supervision that makes Iran an exception in terms of supervisions is acceptable. The monitoring must be within the confines of, and not more than, conventional supervisions carried out across the world."
5. Nuclear R&D a must
"The scientific and technical development in different dimensions must continue. Of course, the negotiating team might deem it necessary to agree with some limitations and there is nothing to be said in this regard. But the technical development must definitely continue and vigorously advance."
Ayatollah Khamenei pointed out, "The negotiators are responsible for fulfilling these demands and finding and adopting proper negotiating strategies by benefiting from the views of honest and informed figures and critics."