Engaging in negotiations with the US will not solve Tehran’s issues with Washington, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said on Saturday.
Khamenei criticized voices calling for talks with the US to help ease the pressure on Tehran amid the ongoing protests.
“Some people claim to have political understanding, but their analyzes in newspapers and online really make one sad. They say that in order to end these riots, you must solve your issues with America,” said Khamenei.
“Negotiations will not solve our problem with America,” he said, adding that the US seeks “ransom” from Iran.
“Anyone who is Iranian and has zeal is not willing to pay these ransoms […] America wants the Iranian nation to cross all of its red lines.”
Indirect talks between the US and Iran aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, which Washington withdrew from in 2018, have yet to succeed since negotiations began in Vienna in April 2021.
Khamenei described anti-regime protesters as a small group of people who are “either oblivious, ignorant, or mercenaries.”
Protests have swept across Iran since September 16 when 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini died three days after collapsing in police custody. She had been detained by Tehran’s morality police for allegedly not complying with the regime’s strict hijab rules.
Demonstrators have been calling for regime change in the protests which have become one of the boldest challenges to the regime since its establishment in 1979.
At least 416 people, including 51 children and 27 women, have been killed by security forces in the protests, according to the Oslo-based rights group Iran Human Rights (IHR).
Iran has blamed the unrest on foreign powers, namely the US and Israel.