Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has warned the country’s president-elect against placing trust in negotiations with the US, noting that the West broke its commitments with outgoing president Hassan Rouhani.

“Others should use the experience of Mr. Rouhani’s government. One experience is distrusting the West. In this administration it became clear that trusting the West isn’t helpful,” Khamenei said on Wednesday, according to a transcript of his comments posted on his official Twitter account. He added that Washington had made written promises to remove sanctions under the 2015 nuclear deal, but later disregarded its own commitments under the accord. 

“The West and the US are totally unjust and malicious in their negotiations. They have no hesitation in breaching their commitments at all,” Khamenei stated.

The West & the US are totally unjust & malicious in their negotiations. They have no hesitation in breaching their commitments at all. In the previous agreement, they breached their commitments & they give no guarantee they will abide by their commitments in the future either.

His condemnation of Washington’s approach to negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program comes a week before President-elect Ebrahim Raisi is set to be sworn in. A close ally of the ayatollah, Raisi is expected to have a more hardline approach to the US than his moderate predecessor. Raisi had previously signaled that he was open to rebooting the stalled nuclear accord, which limits Iran’s enrichment of uranium, on the condition that the US keeps its word and drops sanctions aimed at Tehran. However, Khamenei’s remarks seem to call for a more confrontational approach to resolving the diplomatic deadlock. 

The US State Department has not yet issued a response to the supreme leader’s comments. 

Then-President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2018. Washington then piled on fresh sanctions, even as international inspectors acknowledged that Iran had kept its end of the deal. The move infuriated Tehran, which began to increase its level of uranium enrichment, seeing as the US did not honor its own commitments under the accord. 

Earlier this month, Iran announced that, if deemed necessary, it could enrich uranium up to 90%, nearly 25 times greater than the level stipulated in the JCPOA. 

Talks have been taking place in Vienna to try to get Washington and Tehran to return to the negotiation table. So far the attempt has not produced results, with Iran continuing to insist that sanctions must be lifted as a prerequisite. 

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