Ahead of the resumption of nuclear negotiations between Iran and Western powers, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for efforts to “immunize” Iran against sanctions.
“What would you do if [negotiators] set a condition for lifting the sanctions that would compromise your [national] pride?… No official would accept it. Efforts must be made to immunize Iran against the sanctions,” Khamenei said, Iran’s state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
The European Union said Wednesday that Iran and the P5+1 powers-the U.S., France, Germany, Russia, China, and Britain-will resume talks over the Iran nuclear program on Jan. 18. After the Nov. 24, 2014 deadline for negotiating a nuclear deal expired, the negotiations were extended to June 30, 2015. The original interim nuclear deal, reached in November 2013 and extended to after a missed deadline in July 2014, led to an easing of some sanctions on Iran.
While world powers want to severely curtail Iran’s enrichment capability or have enriched fuel sent abroad for processing, Iran is seeking to retain its full ability to enrich uranium. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, has called for the complete dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program. Many leading U.S. Republican legislators, ahead of their party’s forthcoming control of both houses of Congress in January, are taking Netanyahu’s side on the issue and have promised to block any “bad deal” that allows Iran to retain enrichment capability.