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Iran’s Supreme Leader: Fresh talks with US would only boost Trump ahead of November

Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said during his annual Eid al-Adha address that there will be no new talks with Washington, and further vowed that Iran will only expand its nuclear program, not give it up.

He further underscored in the speech that the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program remains a “necessity” for the country’s survival and prospering – though it should be underscored that Tehran has long maintained it’s for peaceful civilian nuclear energy.

While the speech was one of typical defiance amid ongoing crippling US sanctions and the ‘maximum pressure’ campaign, Iran’s top cleric and Supreme Leader addressed Trump’s prospects for November in a rare moment.

He underscored that any fresh talks with Washington would only serve to boost Trump’s chances in the upcoming election, and on this basis must be resisted. As The New York Times summarized of the statements:

In a Friday speech for the Eid al-Adha holiday, Ayatollah Khamenei said that entering talks with Washington over Iran’s nuclear program, as President Trump has urged Tehran to do, would only improve Mr. Trump’s chances of being re-elected in November. That, the ayatollah said, was Mr. Trump’s reason for suggesting such talks in the first place.

“He is going to benefit from negotiations,” Ayatollah Khamenei said. “This old man who is in charge in America apparently used negotiations with North Korea as propaganda,” he added — a reference to Mr. Trump’s high-profile nuclear diplomacy on another front, which to date has been mostly fruitless.

Khamenei also emphasized that Iranians must pursue self-sufficiency and complete independence from the US-dominated international economic system, and be prepared to weather the ongoing economic warfare out of Washington and its allies.

Meanwhile, recall that since the start of this year Iran’s enrichment capabilities have grown significantly.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in early June circulated a confidential report which was reported at the time by the Associated Press which detailed the Islamic Republic’s nuclear stockpile rose by a whopping over 50% in the three months prior to May 20.

“The agency said that as of May 20, Iran’s total stockpile of low-enriched uranium amounted to 1,571.6 kilograms (1.73 tons), up from 1,020.9 kilograms (1.1 tons) on Feb. 19,” AP reported.