Just days after US President Barack Obama reportedly sent a letter to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei extolling America’s and Iran’s shared objectives in the Middle East, the Iranian leader on Saturday again called openly for the destruction of Israel.
“This barbaric, wolflike & infanticidal regime of #Israel which spares no crime has no cure but to be annihilated,” Khamenei wrote on his official Twitter account. “The only means to confront a barbaric regime like #Israel is arming [the Palestinians],” he continued.
Former US presidential candidate Mitt Romney said he was astonished to learn that the Obama White House had even considered the possibility of working together with such a regime.
“I was frankly stunned that the president of the United States would write a letter of that nature and in effect, legitimize a nation and a leadership which is violating international norms and is threatening the world,” Romney told the inaugural conference of the Israeli American Council.
The secret letter that Obama is said to have sent Khamenei reportedly offered an American-Iranian partnership in combatting the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS), so long as Tehran agreed to a comprehensive deal regarding its defiant nuclear program by the end of the month.
Iran’s deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araqchi, said in remarks cited by Reuters over the weekend that his government was taking seriously the November 24 deadline, and was keen to conclude an agreement with world powers.
But it would appear Iran’s new willingness to negotiate has less to do with accepting global concerns, and more to do with Washington’s increasing flexibility regarding the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.
“Iran and the US have come to terms that despite more than three decades of mistrust, it is now in their national interest to constructively negotiate and reach an agreement,” Ali Khoram, an adviser to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, told Asharq Al-Awsat. “Both sides seem to have recognized each other’s concerns and are ready for
Araqchi likewise clarified that the agreement Iran is looking to reach will not bring and end to its enrichment of uranium or its nuclear program as a whole. “Iran’s [uranium] enrichment will continue. This issue has been agreed upon by both sides,” he told Iran’s Press TV, referring to more recent talks between Iran and the six world powers known as the P5+1.