LATEST: Sunni Insurgency Jaish ul-Adl Claims Kidnap of 5 Border Guards

Iran has continued its barrage of criticism of recent US statements, with the Supreme Leader setting the example on Saturday in an address to Air Force commanders:

Khamenei declared, “American officials publicly say they do not seek regime change in Iran. That’s a lie. They wouldn’t hesitate a moment if they could do it.”

On Friday, the Supreme Leader’s representatives and Tehran Friday Prayer leader put out the denunciations.

From the Friday Prayer pulpit, Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani focused on US Secratary John Kerry’s statement more than two weeks ago that “military options are on the table” if Iran does not adhere to the interim nuclear deal, and lead US negotiator Wendy Sherman’s testimony to Congress this week about forthcoming talks on a comprehensive agreement:

Mr. Kerry and Ms. Sherman were very rude. They stated ugly words that this ugliness is only worthy of them. Ms. Sherman says that Iran fed the poor with [American] money. America’s money is Iran’s money; you confiscated our money which is a type of theft….

The people expect the Foreign Ministry of Iran to give a mouth-breaking answer to these rants, lies, and accusations.

The Supreme Leader’s top foreign policy advisor, Ali Velayati, piled on the rhetoric although he also said the nuclear discussions will not be halted:

What the Americans were unable to execute in action states itself in cheap low level literature. The Islamic Republic of Iran will not retreat an iota from its nuclear rights and these negotiations will continue in mutual good will.

On Saturday, the Supreme Leader reiterated:

The opening talks on the comprehensive agreement are scheduled for February 18 in Vienna.

Another member of the Supreme Leader’s inner circle, Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, declared that backing of the talks did not equal an embrace of anything “American”, warning Iranians:

The Iranian nation is pessimistic towards America and also to any political current and figure that seeks to gravitate towards America. This thought is reprobate and is condemned.

(Hat tip for translations: Iran Tracker)

Sunni Insurgency Jaish ul-Adl Claims Kidnap of 5 Border Guards

The Sunni insurgency Jaish ul-Adl says it has kidnapped five border guards in Sistan-Baluchestan Province in southern Iran.


Iran Renews Talks With International Atomic Energy Agency

Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency renewed talks on Saturday about inspections and supervision of nuclear facilities.

“The talks will be about cooperation which has taken place between the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) and the IAEA based on a November 11 statement, and the outcome of this cooperation,” the spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Behrouz Kamalvandi, said.

Iran’s Ambassador to the IAEA, Reza Najafi, and the IAEA’s Deputy Director General for Safeguards, Tero Tapio Varjoranta, are leading the delegations.

In the joint statement in November 2013, Iran and the IAEA set out a six-point plan, including inspections of the Arak heavy- water reactor and the Gachin uranium mine.

IAEA inspectors visited the Arak complex in December and Gachin last month.

Supreme Leader: US Officials Lying About Pursuit of Regime Change

Addressing Air Force commanders on Saturday, the Supreme Leader said US officials are lying when they say they are not pursuing regime change in Iran.

Ayatollah Khamenei said Washington will not hesitate for a moment if it thinks it is able to change the Iranian system, but asserted that it will never be successful: “One can change the tactics, but principles must remain rock solid.”

Having reasserted that line for nuclear discussions, the Supreme Leader dismissed the idea that US pressure could force Iranian concessions, denying that sanctions had hindered Iran’s economy: “The solution to our economic problems is not looking out and having the sanctions lifted … My advice to our officials, as ever, is to rely on infinite indigenous potentials.”