The video related to a private meeting between Ayatollah Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet last July shows the Leader advising against tying Iran’s economy to Europe’s special payment channel.
Ayatollah Khamenei’s official website published the clip for the first time on Monday, revealing the Leader’s reservations about Europe’s bid to guard trade with Iran against US sanctions.
The US imposed new sanctions on the Islamic Republic after President Donald Trump abandoned the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May 2018.
The Europeans did not follow suit, trying instead to keep Iran in the agreement by promising incentives which generated new expectations in the government.
“One day we tied all of the country’s economic issues to the JCPOA and the JCPOA could not resolve our country’s economic issues or help us in any significant way,” the Leader says in the video.
The Leader also advises the government to avoid conditioning people to the European package. “Don’t make this a main issue; either the European package arrives or it doesn’t.”
“We have things to do in our country, we have potentials and these potentials need to materialize. Follow those potentials, don’t tie economic enhancement to something that is not in our control.”
After spending months discussing possible mechanisms to guarantee continued trade with Tehran, the Europeans last month unveiled the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) with strings attached.
Senior Iranian officials have objected to Europe’s preconditions, which require Iran to join the FATF (the Financial Action Task Force) and start negotiations on its missile program before INSTEX enters into force.
In the meeting, the Leader hit out at European “malevolence” for dragging their feet on the payment channel until November, when the first round of US sanctions targeting Iran’s oil exports took effect.
“They are after this and such is their evil,” he stressed.
“I read in the paper that Trump has said ‘I encouraged [British Prime Minister Theresa] May to sustain pressure on Iran. [And she needed absolutely no encouragement] because she, in fact, also encourages me’ to be tough with Iran,” the Leader said. “That’s who they are and yet they call Mr. Rouhani to convey their respects.”
Trump made the remarks during a joint press conference with May at Chequers, the prime minister’s country estate in Buckinghamshire, England in July last year.
The Leader noted that Europe’s “evil nature” — as displayed by various European rulers in the past centuries — was not limited to its current policies.