Skip to content
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Strategic Alliances for a Secure, Connected, and Prosperous Region

Khamenei’s Hard-Line – Even before the Killing of Brig.-Gen. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh

Filed under: Iran

Khamenei’s Hard-Line – Even before the Killing of Brig.-Gen. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh
Khamenei addressing the Supreme Council of Economic Coordination on November 24. “We tried the path of lifting sanctions once and negotiated for years, but it led to no results.” (Office of the Supreme Leader)

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, addressed Iran’s Supreme Council of Economic Coordination, on November 24, 2020, in a speech that exhorted Iranians to counteract economic sanctions on the country. Khamenei labeled the U.S. sanctions “a crime against the Iranian people that has been intensified in the past three years.”1 He declared, “We once tried without success to negotiate the removal of sanctions; the sanctions will be withheld only when they will realize that they reached the dead end.” The video of the speech released with English captions from Khamenei’s office bore the title, “We must stand on our own feet.”

[Defiantly, just a few days later, Khamenei tweeted about the assassination of Iran’s nuclear boss. “Mr. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed by the oppressive enemies. This rare scientific mind lost his life for his everlasting great scientific work. He lost his life for God and the Supreme Leader.”2]

Foreign Minister Javid Zarif entering a hotel for negotiations
Screenshot from Khamenei’s office’s video showing Foreign Minister Javid Zarif entering a hotel for negotiations.

In his remarks to his economic council, the Supreme Leader made it clear that Iran is ready to endure the consequences of imposed sanctions and resolve its problems through by implementing the “economy of resistance” and through a surge in production.

Split-screen of the Supreme Leader and Zarif heading to negotiations
The Khamenei video shows a split-screen of the Supreme Leader and Zarif heading to negotiations.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

During the interregnum before a new administration takes office, Iranians have heard from American commentators that new negotiations with Iran are considered. Several of Iran’s “moderate” political leaders, such as President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javid Zarif, have suggested resuming dialogue with U.S. officials. Note, however, Rouhani’s term as president ends in June 2021.3

As expressed by Khamenei, however, Iran continues to hold its rigid positions regarding the sanctions and negotiations related to the nuclear deal.

Referring to the nuclear deal, the Iranian Supreme Leader said that the situation after the elections in the United States is not clear yet. He also referred to the hesitation and stuttering of Germany, France, and Britain (the EU3) and their anti-Iranian positions. “The Europeans are constantly taking stances against Iran,” Khamenei complained. “While they are making the most improper interferences in the region’s issues, they tell us not to interfere in the region. Furthermore, while France and Britain possess destructive nuclear missiles and Germany is moving in this direction, they tell us not to possess missiles.”

Khamenei said that the best way to fight sanctions is to remove or repeal them: “We have tried to remove the sanctions through negotiations in the past but without any results. The second option can be challenging at first, but the end results will be to our advantage.”

Khamenei emphasized that it is vital to work in four central directions to improve the economic situation and the well-being of the Iranian people.4 Iran has to resolve the budget deficit problem, increase investment in the country, encourage a surge in production, and support the underprivileged classes in Iranian society, which in recent years have been facing considerable pressure due to the rising inflation and an economic recession, exacerbated by the Covid-19.

* * *