(JTA) — Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, banned future talks with the United States.
“Talks with the United States are forbidden because of the countless harm they do,” Khamenei told a group of Revolutionary Guards officers in Tehran on Wednesday.
Khamenei, Iran’s highest authority, has said similar things in speeches since a nuclear deal was reached in July between Iran and six world powers, according to The New York Times.
However, he had not yet issued an official ban on talks with the United States. He had officially supported the nuclear deal negotiations.
“Negotiations between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran means penetration,” Khamenei said Wednesday. “That is how they define such negotiations. They want to open the way for imposition.”
Khamenei’s rhetoric clashes with that of Iran’s more moderate president, Hassan Rouhani, who emphasized at the U.N. General Assembly last week that Iran was ready to cooperate with the United States to solve the crisis in Syria.
Meanwhile, Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, has been harshly criticized at home for being the country’s first foreign minister to shake hands with an American president since 1979. Last week, Zarif and President Barack Obama shared a handshake at the United Nations.