Iranian Nationalist-Religious figures have warned Iran’s Supreme Leader against re-establishing relations with the United States, calling instead for greater openness in the national political arena.
In a letter published in Melli Mazhabi website and signed by six veteran and prominent Nationalist-Religious figures, they warn Ayatollah Khamenei that in view of Iran’s domestic and international situation, entering talks with the United States would not be in the best interest of the country.
The letter indicates that recent rumours about negotiations between Iran and the United States indicate that the topic is “no longer a taboo, and there may be an attempt to prepare public opinion for such a move.”
In late October 2012, Persian-speaking media reported on rumours that Ali Akbar Velayati, a former Iranian foreign minister and currently a close adviser to Ayatollah Khamenei, had travelled to the U.S. to open the way to re-establishing relations with U.S. authorities. The rumours were denied by Velayati.
The Nationalist-Religious figures write that the time is not favourable for possible negotiations with the U.S., because in the current situation, Iran would be forced to relinquish too many advantages. Instead, the statement calls for the opening of the political atmosphere and a reconsideration of the country’s nuclear policies in order to boost Iran’s international credibility.
The signatories of the letter urge Ayatollah Khamenei: “Instead of succumbing to West’s extortion, give the people of Iran their due.”
Iranian Nationalist-Religious figures go on to add that the history of U.S. intervention in Iran and its support of military coups reveal that “nothing alarms the U.S. more than real democracy in Iran.” Therefore, they write, after holding open elections, releasing political prisoners and opening up the national arena to political and civil activists, Iran can enter negotiations with the U.S. from a firm position of power.
They also advise the government to temporarily suspend uranium enrichment. They maintain that, although Iran’s right to uranium enrichment is unquestionable, it would be better to resolve the misunderstandings between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency and then resume enriching uranium.
The letter to Ayatollah Khamenei is signed by Mohammad Bastehnegar, Habibollah Peyman, Hossein Shah-hosseiny, Ahmad Sadr Haj-Seyyed-Javadi, Azam Taleghani and Nezameddin Ghahari.