Revolutionary Guard: We will keep 'death to America' slogan
Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami: Death to America chant will continue throughout nuclear talks • Revolutionary Guard says the slogan is fitting for America's "untrustworthy" leadership • Report: China to fund Iran with $20 billion in withheld oil money.
Dan Lavie and News Agencies
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
Photo credit: Reuters
Ahead of Iran's annual Death to America Day Monday, commemorating the Iranian takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran 34 years ago, the Revolutionary Guard announced they are still committed to the slogan "death to America." The Guard's website claims that "the slogan is a symbol of the Iranian nation's power and determination against the oppressive rule of America, an untrustworthy nation."
The website further states that the recent uproar over American surveillance of foreign leaders proves that "it is impossible to trust the leadership in the White House." Senior Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said in a speech in Tehran that Iran will continue to use the "death to America" mantra throughout nuclear talks.
As the next round of nuclear talks between Iran and the West is set to begin, International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Yukiya Amano said there has been a substantial change in the Islamic republic's stance on the nuclear issue.
At a conference in Washington, Amano said that there is "substance" in Iran's new proposals. He expressed optimism about the continuation of talks and said that Iran is prepared to work with IAEA.
In contrast, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said over the weekend that Western countries need to adopt a new position for negotiations to succeed, lest the international community miss "the opportunity to make a deal" with Iran. "Ten years ago, Iran had less than 160 centrifuges spinning, now it has over 18,000," said Zarif. A decade ago, he added, "Iran's economy was prospering. Now sanctions are hurting the wrong segment of the population. I hope we have come to understand that approach was wrong."
As the Iranian economy flounders under the pressure of economic sanctions, a local Iranian news website reported that China has agreed to fund Iranian projects with $20 billion in oil money that was never transferred to the Islamic republic due to sanctions.
Tehran's chief nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi said there is still a "long path" until a deal is reached.