Iran should boost domestic capabilities to change U.S. behavior: Ghalibaf


TEHRAN — Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf says Iran should improve its domestic capabilities to force the U.S. to change its approach toward the country.

“Rest assured that the U.S.’s approach toward Iran will not change with the changing of that country’s president,” Ghalibaf said on Wednesday, according to IRNA.

“Therefore, in order to change the U.S. approach, we should improve our domestic capabilities,” he said. “Today, there is this capacity in the country, and definitely, without producing power and progressing in the field of economy as the top priority, this change is not possible.”

He labeled the U.S. as Iran’s main enemy, citing Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who has said that the only path to resist the U.S. pressure is working hard.

“Therefore, we should work hard for the country’s progress and development,” added Ghalibaf.

The outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump has pursued the “maximum pressure” policy against Iran in order to force Tehran to succumb to its demands. The policy was implemented after Trump unilaterally pulled Washington out of the historic nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers.

Washington then slapped several rounds of harsh sanctions on Iran, claiming it was pursuing to negotiate a better deal with Iran than the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was clinched under his predecessor Barack Obama.

Meanwhile, U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has voiced support for the JCPOA, saying his administration will rejoin the deal.

In response, the Trump administration has been trying to do whatever it can, after Trump’s defeat in the election, to make it more difficult for the Biden administration to return to the JCPOA.

“But a lot of these sanctions are going to actually be similar to things that have already been done, with new names on them. But the underlying sanctions, I think, are not fundamentally going to change,” Wendy Sherman, the former U.S. nuclear negotiator with Iran, said in an interview with the PRI published last Wednesday.

“So, a Biden-Harris administration is going to have to look at where we are. The president-elect has said he wants to reenter negotiations and build back better. So this will be a very complicated puzzle,” she said.

‘Iran not in contact with Biden team’

On Wednesday, presidential chief of staff Mahmoud Vaezi said the Rouhani administration is not in contact with the incoming Biden administration.

“The new U.S. administration will take office in two months,” Vaezi told reporters on the sidelines of a cabinet meeting. “We do not have enough communication to evaluate the talks.”

“The Foreign Ministry is ready to join negotiations with different scenarios provided that they join negotiations,” added Vaezi, who was the second-ranking person in the Foreign Ministry during the Hashemi Rafsanjani administration.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry has also dismissed speculation that it was in contact with the Biden team before or after the U.S. presidential election, saying Iran will not be in contact with anyone outside of issues completely related to the nuclear pact.

Iran awaits the formation of the new administration in the U.S. to see what will happen, Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on November 9.

“We should see where the measures of the U.S. will lead to,” he said. “It is measures that matter not words, analyses, and speculations.”

MH/PA

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