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Don’t Count on Europe to Help Improve Economy

“The JCPOA is a means not an end in itself. It is obvious that if and when we come to the conclusion that it cannot serve our national interest, we will walk away”
Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei meets with President Hassan Rouhani and his Cabinet in Tehran on Wednesday.  Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei meets with President Hassan Rouhani and his Cabinet in Tehran on Wednesday.

Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said Wednesday the government should concentrate on domestic capabilities rather than European support for the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, adding that Tehran would abandon the agreement if it fails to serve its national interest.

"There is no problem with continuing talks with Europe. But you should give up hope on them over issues such as the JCPOA or the economy," he told President Hassan Rouhani and his aides in a meeting in Tehran, his official website reported.

Following US President Donald Trump's exit in May from the landmark nuclear accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, European powers (Britain, France and Germany) have been struggling to ensure that Iran does not tear up the deal and gets the economic benefits needed to keep it in the agreement.

"The JCPOA is a means not an end in itself. It is apparent that if we come to the conclusion that if it cannot serve our national interests, we will abandon it," Ayatollah Khamenei said.

  Domestic Potential  

Positive measures have been taken by the Rouhani government to improve economic growth, increase non-oil exports and cut imports, he noted, but added that greater efforts are needed to address the mountain of economic challenges.

Those in charge of economic affairs must work "day and night" to improve the situation based on the guidelines stipulated in the "resistance economy" policy, which calls for supporting and enhancing domestic production and consumption of Iran-made goods, he said.

The Leader recommended officials to take effective  measures needed to draw on internal capabilities, remove obstacles to a business-friendly  climate, fight  corruption, give voice and space to the private sector and address liquidity issues.

  Talks With US

Regarding the oft-mentioned subject of talks with the United States, the Leader reiterated  that Tehran will not sit at the negotiating table with US officials at any level because they cannot be trusted.  

"The result of dialogue with US officials in the past, who at least feigned [good intentions] is this. Now what negotiations can we have with the current brazen (White House) officials who use offensive language and make no secret of their animosity toward the Iranians?"

He was referring to the unilateral US withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, which was hammered out between Iran and six world powers after years of painstaking diplomacy and negotiations.

“The Americans just want to boast that they succeeded in bringing Iran to the negotiating table… There will be no talks with them," Ayatollah Khamenei said, once again dismissing the possibility of any sort of flexibility with the US under President Donald Trump.

The Leader instead called for closer bonds with neighboring countries.

  Differences  Natural  

In the meeting the Leader called on the three branches of the government to close ranks and support each other, adding that it is natural for differences to emerge between authorities.

He said a parliamentary session on Tuesday in which the president answered lawmakers' questions on the economy was a clear manifestation of democracy in the Islamic Republic.  

Enemies had hoped to exploit the rare meeting for their own narrow purposes, but it will help enhance closer cooperation between the president and parliament, the Leader said.    

  No Political Solution

During the Wednesday session, Rouhani criticized the US decision to reimpose economic sanctions and said issues involving Trump’s America cannot be resolved diplomatically under the current conditions.    

"In today's environment there is no political solution because the administration that has imposed sanctions on Iran in violation of all international regulations is not committed to anything."

He said Washington's policy of exerting economic pressure is aimed at reviving US hegemony over the country “but all their plots will be foiled”.

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