The supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said publicly that sanctions against Iran are unlikely to be lifted as the country negotiates with the United States and other world powers over its nuclear ambitions. On Wednesday, the supreme leader said in a speech that he did not believe that all sanctions against his country would be lifted. The countries negotiating with Iran do not want Iran to develop nuclear weapon capabilities that could be used against other countries in the Middle East, notably Israel, or targets in the United States and Europe.
Ayatollah Khamenei has the final say on any nuclear agreement made by his country. He has frequently commented on the negotiations, saying in January that Iran’s opponents in the talks were “greedy.” The lifting of the sanctions previously was an essential condition for the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program to continue. About a month ago, Ayatollah Khamenei said that for the Islamic republic to accept any agreement, the sanctions must really be lifted.
The deadline for a political agreement on the negotiations is scheduled for the end of March, with a final agreement containing the technical details due by the end of June. Ayatollah Khamenei has proposed one single agreement instead of multiple deadlines.
The economy of Iran has suffered for years from mismanagement and isolation due to the sanctions imposed by the United States and other Western governments. The European Union reimposed sanctions on one company in Iran, the National Iranian Tanker Company, last week after the sanctions were originally lifted in July. The company’s lawyers originally argued that sanctions on the company were unwarranted because the company was privately owned. The decision was overturned after further review indicated that the company actually had close ties to the Iranian government.