Iran won't talk to US, extra-regional states on its regional role: Leader
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says the Islamic Republic will not hold talks with the US or other extra-regional countries about its regional presence.
According to Press TV, Ayatollah Khamenei made the remarks in a meeting in Tehran on Thursday with a group of religious eulogizers on the birth anniversary of Prophet Mohammad’s daughter, Hazrat Zahra (SA), which is designated as the national Women’s Day in Iran.
"While America has a corrupt and seditious presence everywhere, it keeps creating doubts about Iran's presence in the region. Do we have to get America’s permission for presence in the region?"
The Leader noted, “In order to be present in the region, should we negotiate and hold talks with regional governments or with you? Anytime we wanted to be present in America we will hold talks with you!”
Answering to some European officials, who had indicated their willingness to negotiate with Iran over its presence in the region, Ayatollah Khamenei repeated the above point, saying, “What has this issue to do with you? Is this region our region or yours? What are you doing in the region? We make arrangements with regional nations and have made those arrangements and have gone forward and will continue to go forward.”
The Leader’s remarks come after certain European countries, especially France, raised claims about what they alleged to be Iran's destabilizing role in the region and also urged for a halt to the Islamic Republic’s missile program.
Before his recent trip to Iran, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian claimed that Iran's ballistic missile program was very worrying and ran counter to a UN resolution.
He also claimed the need to prevent the Iranian missile activities from becoming a threat to "all regional actors," adding that he would bring up the matter during his visit to Tehran.
In response to Le Drian's meddlesome comments, Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on international affairs, urged Paris not to make claims that it could not deliver on.
Stressing Iran's peaceful relations with all its neighboring countries, he said the Islamic Republic could not remain indifferent to moves aimed at equipping neighboring states with arms on a daily basis.
"Iran is an independent country and can defend itself in any way it sees fit whether with missiles or any other defensive means," Velayati said, adding, "Defensive preparedness is among basic rights of every nation and no country can decide for us or other states … which type of missile we can possess."
Rejecting reports that Tehran and several EU nations had begun negotiations over the Islamic Republic's role in the Middle East, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on March 4, “"Without a doubt this topic is not a new or odd one, but we reject these claims concerning an agreement for talks based on a definite framework."
Qassemi added that Tehran and several EU nations did hold talks on the sidelines of the recent Munich conference about the situation in Yemen, however he stressed that the talks were focused on the subject of aid delivery and ending Saudi Arabia's war on it impoverished neighbor.