Middle East/North Africa

Iran supreme leader dismisses Vienna talks on nuclear deal as ‘not worth looking at’

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday dismissed offers made at talks in Vienna over Iran’s nuclear deal as “not worth looking at.”

“The offers they provide are usually arrogant and humiliating [and] are not worth looking at,” Khamenei said, according to The Associated Press. Khamenei made the remarks during an address to mark the first day of Ramadan in Iran.

“The talks shouldn’t become talks of attrition,” Khamenei added. “They shouldn’t be in a way that parties drag on and prolong the talks. This is harmful to the country.”

Talks to rein in Iran’s nuclear program were jeopardized this week after an attack on Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility that damaged centrifuges used to enrich uranium. Iran has blamed Israel for the attack and has since vowed to increase the purity of its enriched uranium to 60 percent, bringing it closer to obtaining weapons-grade levels of purity.

Iranian officials have vowed to retaliate against the attack.

“The Zionists wanted to take revenge against the Iranian people for their success on the path of lifting sanctions,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reportedly said. “But we do not allow [it], and we will take revenge for this action against the Zionists.”

Zarif said the damaged facility would be rebuilt with more advanced machines that would allow it to enrich uranium at a faster rate.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also said on Wednesday that the higher levels of enriched uranium were an “answer” to the attack on the Natanz facility.

“Apparently this is a crime by the Zionists. If the Zionists take an action against our nation, we will respond,” Rouhani reportedly said. “Our response to their malice is replacing the damaged centrifuges with more advanced ones and ramping up the enrichment to 60 percent at the Natanz facility.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday that although the U.S. does not have “any additional speculation” regarding the cause of the attack in Iran, “indirect” talks with Iran would resume on Thursday.

“Our understanding is they plan to attend tomorrow,” Psaki said, referring to Iranian negotiators. “We are also very open-eyed about how this will be a long process. It is happening through indirect negotiations, but we still feel that it is a step forward.”

Tags Ali Khamenei Hassan Rouhani Iran Iran nuclear agreement Jen Psaki

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