PHOTO: Ayatollah Khamenei with university students in Tehran on Saturday


The Supreme Leader has repeated that Iran will not cooperate with the US over regional crises.

Ayatollah Khamenei, addressing university students on Saturday, reiterated that “Tehran is not interested in such coordination as the US’s main goal is to reduce Iran’s presence in the region”.

The Supreme Leader has always said that his decision to accept nuclear talks with the US and other powers, culminating in last July’s agreement, does not extend to other areas such as the Syrian civil war and the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq. He has denounced the US as “dishonest”, seeking to take over the Middle East through terrorist groups and to undermine the Islamic Republic.

Ayatollah Khamenei has not only maintained the line since January’s implementation of the nuclear deal, but has rebuffed President Rouhani’s attempts to pursue a foreign policy of engagement. Khamenei has warned that he will take over policy for a “Resistance Economy” rather than put a priority on investment from Western countries, despite Iran’s need for economic recovery.

The Supreme Leader has been able to point to continuing US restrictions on Iran’s economy to make his case. While many sanctions have been lifted since January, the Americans have imposed new measures over Iran’s ballistic missile testing, and the Supreme Court has upheld a freeze on $2 billion of Iranian assets, allowing families of terrorism victims to sue for compensations.

Some European companies are also wary of renewing links with Tehran because of the fear of US punishment, and Iran’s banks have not yet been reintegrated into the global financial system.

Khamenei’s office supported his Saturday speech with a reminder on social media of the US downing of an Iranian passenger plane in 1988, killing all 290 people on board:

Authorities Bar Top Artist Tanavoli From Leaving Country

Iranian authorities have confiscated the passport of prominent artist Parviz Tanavoli, the day before he was due to speak at the British Museum in London.

Tanavoli, a dual Canadian-Iranian national who spends half the year in Canada, was halted at Imam Khomeini International Airport on Saturday. Border officials gave no reason. He said later:

I have no idea why they did it. I have not done anything wrong. I spent the whole day at the passport office but no one told me anything, nor did anyone at the airport.

I’m not a political person, I’m merely an artist.

Sunday’s event at the British Museum was a celebration of the work of Tanavoli and the launch of his new book, European Women in Persian Houses, recently published in English.

Tanavoli is one of the pioneers of the Saqqakhaneh school, a neo-traditionalist movement, recognized for his bronze sculpture. Last year, he held his first US solo museum exhibition, and some of his other works were recently on display at Tate Modern in London.

He is the Middle East’s most expensive artist at auction, with his sculpture The Wall (Oh Persepolis) selling for $2.8 million at Christie’s New York in 2008.

The British Museum said the event will go ahead. Curator Venetia Porter said:

He is not just an artist, he is a real historian of Iran and has systematically over the years published books about Persian carpets, amulets and other objects. This is what’s extraordinary about him: his deep love of Iranian culture, everything he does, all his art stems out of that.

Rouhani Chides Critics of Nuclear Deal

President Rouhani has chided critics of the July 2015 nuclear deal with the 5+1 Powers.

Speaking to officials at an iftar breaking the Ramadan fast on Sunday, Rouhani said, “The JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] was the cheapest way to achieve Iran’s goals and interests.”

The President assured that he was following the Supreme Leader’s guidance and — apparently not referring to Ayatollah Khamenei’s criticism of implementation of the deal — said:

The pre-JCPOA [period] is bygone now. The mass media, government, and the Parliament — as well as all sympathizers of the Islamic system — should think about that how they can make use of the atmosphere of post-JCPOA in line with national interests more than before.