TEHRAN: Iran’s supreme leader said on Monday there would be neither war nor negotiations with the United States, and that the country’s problems were the result of government mismanagement more than renewed sanctions.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s comments add to the pressure on President Hassan Rouhani following a collapse in the currency and widespread protests over high prices and corruption.
They also appeared to rule out any hope of fresh talks with Washington, which US President Donald Trump had proposed after walking out of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal and reimposing sanctions.
“Beside sanctions, they are talking about war and negotiations… let me say a few words to the people: THERE WILL BE NO WAR, NOR WILL WE NEGOTIATE WITH THE U.S.,” Khamenei said via his official Twitter account in English.
There was also a show of military resolve as Defence Minister Amir Hatami unveiled a next generation short-range ballistic missile and vowed to further boost the country’s missile capabilities.
State broadcaster IRIB said the new Fateh Mobin missile had “successfully passed its tests” and could strike targets on land and sea.
Despite renewed sanctions, many Iranians — including many at the highest levels of the establishment — see US hostility as only a contributing factor to long-standing problems inside the country.
“Today’s livelihood problems do not emerge from outside, they are internal,” Khamenei said in another tweet.
“Not that sanctions don’t have an impact, but the main factor is how we handle them,” he added.