It now appears that both of the power groups in Iran have declared that there will be no negotiation with the West over the nuclear issues so currently prominent. A spokesman for the Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei, Sadeq Larijani, the head of the Iranian judiciary, told reporters on Wednesday (November 7) that President Obama should not expect negotiations with Iran. Such talks, he said, “Are not possible overnight.” He condemned sanctions now in place, and called them crimes, “After all this pressure and crimes against the people of Iran, relations with America cannot be possible overnight and Americans should not think they can hold our nation to ransom by coming to the negotiating table.”
Conservative Larijani is more extreme than many in the Iranian administration. By his orders, Iran hanged ten drug traffickers in a prison in Tehran last week for trafficking hundreds of kilos of narcotics. The hanging brought comment from EU foreign policy Chief Catherine Ashton, who said she was, “Appalled by the executions.” UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, Ahmed Shaheed, said he, too, was shocked. Judiciary chief Larijani has been outspoken against the office of the Rapporteur. In 2011, Iran reported 670 executions, the highest per capita rate in the world. Amnesty International in London has called on Iran not to execute those convicted of drug trafficking, calling that penalty “excessive.” Larijani has served on the Guardian Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran for eight years, and has close ties with Iran’s military and intelligence agencies. He made statements condemning protesters at the time of the 2008 presidential election in which he called the protests “illegal.”
Last month, The New York Times reported that Iran and the U.S. had agreed to negotiations over the Islamic republic’s illicit nuclear program, but that the Iranians wanted the talks to wait until after the November 6 presidential election, but within days both Iran and the United States denied any such agreement. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu also disavowed knowledge of the agreement. We recall the statement by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in September, when he said, “Experience has shown that important and key decisions are not made in the U.S. leading up to the national elections.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi also deemed false any pending negotiations at this point, following Obama’s re-election victory. While judiciary chief Larijani is closely tied to Ayatollah Khamenei, Foreign Minister Ali Salehi is a spokesman for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Salehi was on handin late September, when the Iranian president spoke to the UN General Assembly. At that time, he met with the representatives of the Syria quartet (Iran, Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia) who are working to end the civil war in Syria.
These ongoing issues with Iran, Syria, the Israeli West Bank, and most recently with Pakistan, are among the urgent matters that newly re-elected President Obama will have to confront.
Photos: Iranian.com, Dawn.com