August 13, 2014 - 19:26 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Iran's supreme leader on Wednesday dismissed the value of direct talks with the U.S., his first comments touching on meetings that officials from the Islamic Republic had with Americans dating back to secret talks that began in 2012, the Associated Press reported.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has final say over all state matters in Iran, did say that nuclear talks with world powers over Tehran's nuclear program will continue.
Addressing Foreign Ministry officials Wednesday, Khamenei criticized the U.S., saying direct talks with its diplomats didn't help reduce sanctions or decrease its animosity toward Tehran.
"Some pretended that if we sit down with Americans at the negotiating table, many of the problems will be resolved. We knew that won't be the case but developments in the past year proved this reality once again," Iranian state television quoted Khamenei as saying. "Americans not only didn't reduce animosity but increased sanctions. They say these are not new sanctions but in fact they are new. Talks about sanctions didn't bear any benefits."
Khamenei called ties and negotiations with U.S. harmful outside of very specific cases. He did not elaborate, according to the AP.
Khamenei said he supported Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his nuclear negotiation team.
"We don't ban the continuation of nuclear talks and the job that Dr. Zarif and his friends began and have moved forward properly," Khamenei said. But "sitting down and talking to Americans has absolutely no effect on reducing their animosity and it's fruitless."