Why Khamenei’s ‘No’ on Talks With U.S. Could Lead to ‘Yes’

Why Khamenei’s ‘No’ on Talks With U.S. Could Lead to ‘Yes’
AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, Pool

The final word in Tehran belongs to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who said on May 29 that Iran “will not negotiate with US officials.”

So does that mean US President Donald Trump's offer to talk with Iran is dead?

Probably not. Khamenei has the knack for being both definitive and opaque on US-Iran contacts. He has never trusted the United States but has permitted, groaningly, diplomacy on numerous occasions, including between 2006-2014, as a result of the pressure of UN Security Council sanctions on Iran, eventually leading to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

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