On the eve of the opening of the nuclear talks in Oman on November 9, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei repeated his call to annihilate Israel and suggested a nine 9 – point plan on how to confront Israel1 and urged Muslims to arm the Palestinians in the West Bank.2 Khamenei also re-twitted Iran’s 11 red lines in the nuclear talks.3
“We believe that the #WestBank should be armed just like #Gaza. It requires a hand of power. Those who care for the destiny of #Palestine, if there is anything that they can do, it’s this one; people there should be armed. The only thing that can reduce the pains and sorrows of the Palestinians is that they possess a hand of power and manifest their power; otherwise with obedient, submissive and compromising manner, nothing will be done to the benefit of the Palestinians and the barbarism of this violent, wicked and wolflike entity will not be reduced at all…”4
The Supreme Leader’s remarks came on the heels of the media storm surrounding the revelation of U.S. President Barak Obama’s letter (the fourth since 2009) to Iran’s Supreme Leader.5 According to published reports, the letter tied the nuclear agreement to the battle against ISIS and the future of US-Iran relations. The letter coincided with the publication of yet another report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on November 7 that states, “Iran has not provided any explanation that enables the agency (IAEA) to clarify the outstanding practical measures, nor has it proposed any new practical measures in the next step of the Framework for Cooperation.”6 According to Reuters, “The IAEA was referring to two steps that Iran had agreed to carry out by late August, by providing information concerning allegations of explosives tests and other activity that could be used to develop nuclear bombs.”7
The Supreme Leader’s statements demonstrate Iran’s growing self-confidence, fed by the recent developments in the region (Shi’ite opposition taking control of Yemen, Assad’s survival, greater hold over Iraq, escalation of the situation in Jerusalem) and the mixed messages from Washington and the West tying the conclusion of a nuclear agreement to the general normalization of relations with Iran and to joint efforts to combat the Islamic State.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, former EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry are participating in the Nuclear Summit in Oman, which is supposed to be a last ditch effort to resolve the disputed issues before the last round of negotiations convenes in Vienna on November 18, just as the extension granted to reach an overall agreement expires on November 24.
Iran is continuing down the same deferral path, even in the period the West perceives as the “money time” on the nuclear questions, and during what appears to be an American effort to normalize relations with Iran given the fight against the “common enemy” of ISIS. Iran continues to be uncompromising in its position on Israel and the Palestinians, meaning: no political arrangement, believing the solution is to involve all Arabs in the struggle until Israel is annihilated.
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