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Iran’s Khamenei Rejects Trump Truce Offer, Chides Govt Over Economy

Iran’s Supreme Leader on Monday rejected U.S. President Donald Trump’s offer of unconditional talks to improve bilateral ties and he also accused the Iranian government of economic mismanagement in the face of reimposed U.S. sanctions. Washington reimposed the sanctions last week after pulling out of a 2015 international deal aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program in return for an easing of economic sanctions. Trump Trump has also threatened to penalise companies that continue to operate in Iran. “I ban holding any talks with America… America never remains loyal to its promises in talks,” said Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on policy in the Islamic Republic. “America’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal is a clear proof that America cannot be trusted,” state TV quoted Khamenei as telling a gathering attended by thousands of Iranians.
The sanctions target Iran’s trade in gold and other precious metals, its purchases of U.S. dollars and its car industry. Washington had said Iran’s only chance of avoiding the sanctions would be to accept Trump’s offer to negotiate for a tougher nuclear deal. Iranian officials already rejected the offer but it is the first time Khamenei has publicly commented. But Khamenei ruled out the possibility of war with the U.S. “They (the Americans) are exaggerating the possibility of a war with Iran. There will be no war… We have never started a war and they will not confront Iran militarily,” he said. Khamenei, whose remarks on Monday come amid a sharp fall in the rial currency that has prompted angry protests, criticized the government of President Hassan Rouhani, a pragmatist cleric who championed the 2015 deal aimed at ending Iran’s political and economic isolation. “More than the sanctions, economic mismanagement (by the government) is putting pressure on ordinary Iranians… I do not call it betrayal but a huge mistake in management,” state TV quoted Khamenei as saying.
“With better management and more efficient planning we can resist the sanctions and overcome them,” Khamenei said, in an apparent effort to deflect public anger over the deteriorating economy towards Rouhani’s government. European countries, which still back the 2015 deal, fear Trump’s moves will undermine Rouhani and strengthen the hand of his hardline rivals in the clerical establishment. The rial has lost about half of its value since April in anticipation of the renewed U.S. sanctions, driven mainly by heavy demand for dollars among ordinary Iranians trying to protect their savings. Iranian officials have blamed “enemies” for the fall of the currency and a rapid rise in the price of gold coins, and more than 60 people, including several officials, have been arrested on charges that carry the death penalty. “The corrupt people (officials) should be punished firmly,” Khamenei said on Monday.
Thousands of Iranians have protested in recent weeks against sharp rises in the prices of some food items, a lack of jobs and state corruption. The protests over the cost of living have often turned into anti-government rallies. Defying U.S. demands to curb its missile programme, Iran unveiled a new generation of its “Fateh Mobin” short-range ballistic missile on Monday, state TV reported. “Our will to enhance our defense power in all fields will increase if the pressure mounts on Iran,” Defence Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami said after unveiling the “fully home-made precision-guided” missile. Trump has said Iran must also stop meddling in conflicts in Syria and Yemen, but Foreign Minister Javad Zarif struck a defiant tone on Monday, telling Qatar’s al Jazeera TV: “Iran will not change its policies in the region because of U.S. sanctions and threats.”

About Editor

Otunba Sayo Akintola is a 1992 graduate of Linguistics from the University of Ibadan, Oyo State. He holds a post-graduate diploma in Financial Management and MBA from Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi. He started his 12-year sojourn in journalism at the Nigerian Tribune in 1993 as Business and Economy reporter. He rose through the ranks to become the Group Business Editor of the nation’s oldest surviving private national newspaper, the Nigerian Tribune before he left to join the Bureau of Public Enterprises BPE, Abuja in 2005 as Head, Media Relations. At the BPE, Sayo coordinated both local and international media for the Bureau’s events and activities. He led a group of Nigerian journalists to the transfer ceremony of West African Refineries Limited in which Nigeria had controlling shares in Sierra Leone to its buyer in 2006 under the privatisation programme of the Nigerian government. He was Accounts Manager (Client Service) at The Quadrant Company, Nigeria’s leading Public Relations outfit, between 2006 and 2007 where he managed Celtel, (now Airtel), LG Electronics and DHL amongst others. He led a team of twenty IT/Telecom Editors of Nigeria’s leading newspapers and magazines to Tanzania in 2006 as part of the migration process of Celtel from Vmobile. In 2007, Sayo left for IMS Advertising Limited as General Manager, Reputation Management in a quest for robust integrated marketing communication expertise. The clientele included Nigerian Breweries Plc, Multi-links, Evan Medicals, Dorman Long and BGL amongst many others. He left in 2012 to set up Octopus Communication, an integrated marketing communication outfit, acting as PR consultant for IMS Advertising, Gilt-edge Advertising and others. He set up World Street Journal magazine in 2018.

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