Khamenei admits mistake in nuclear negotiations

Iranian Supreme Leader says he made a mistake in allowing foreign minister to speak to Kerry during negotiations that led to 2015 deal.

Elad Benari ,

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday admitted he made a mistake in allowing the country's foreign minister to speak to his U.S. counterpart during negotiations that led to a 2015 international nuclear agreement, Reuters reported.

Khamenei, who rarely admits in public to making errors, said he had done just that over the nuclear talks.

"With the issue of the nuclear negotiations, I made a mistake in permitting our foreign minister to speak with them. It was a loss for us," he said, according to Reuters.

The comments were tweeted by the Khat-e Hezbollah newspaper, a weekly affiliated with his official website.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif negotiated the deal with counterparts from six powers, including then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Under the deal, international sanctions on Iran were lifted in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

In May, U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 deal, which he opposes and has described as “the worst deal ever negotiated”.

Following the withdrawal from the deal, Trump signed an executive order officially reinstating U.S. sanctions against Iran.

The sanctions target Iran's access to American dollars and steel and automobile industries, ban trade with Iran in gold and other precious metals, and include other sanctions which were lifted under the 2015 deal.

Additional sanctions will be imposed on November 4, targeting Iran's oil and shipping industries.

Before imposing the sanctions, Trump said he was open for talks without preconditions with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on a new, tougher deal.

Rouhani later dismissed Washington's call for new nuclear negotiations at the same time as it reimposes sanctions on his country.

Khamenei earlier this week also refused Trump's offer to negotiate.

"Recently, U.S. officials have been talking blatantly about us. Beside sanctions, they are talking about war and negotiations," he tweeted.

"In this regard, let me say a few words to the people: THERE WILL BE NO WAR, NOR WILL WE NEGOTIATE WITH THE U.S.," he added.