Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei lauded US President Barack Obama on Thursday for saying he had no plans to strike Iran.
“Two days ago, we heard the president of America say: ‘We are not thinking of war with Iran.’ This is good. Very good. These are wise words. This is an exit from illusion,” Khamenei said, according to state television.
At a news conference Tuesday, Obama said there is still a window of opportunity to use diplomacy to stop Iran from building nuclear bomb without military force.
However, Khamenei also criticized the U.S. president for “still harboring illusions” that sanctions would force Iran to give up uranium enrichment, a key demand of world powers.
Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany have agreed to pick a date for new talks on Tehran’s nuclear program.
Israel, the United States, its Western allies, and Gulf Arab nations say Iran is actively pursuing nuclear weapons in violation of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
On Thursday, International Atomic Energy Agency director Yukiya Amano demanded transparency from Iran amid reports it was covering up illegal nuclear experiments.
"Iran is not telling us everything. That is my impression. We are asking Iran to engage with us proactively, and Iran has a case to answer," Amano said.
Khamenei is the architect of a policy he calls “threats against threats,” in which Iranian officials respond aggressively to statements by Israeli or US remarks that the military option is on the table.
Analysts say his praise of Obama proves, contrary to the White House's protestations, that there is no credible military threat from Washington backing up its sanctions, and that appeasement is the ruling policy on Capitol Hill.
“It shows that our assertive polices are working,” Ahmad Bakhshayesh, an analyst close to Iran’s top leaders, told the Washington Post. “The US has no other option than to compromise on our stances and accept our nuclear program.”