Ali Khamenei says won't negotiate with West over regional presence

Ali Khamenei says won't negotiate with West over regional presence

Iran will not negotiate with the West over its presence in the Middle East, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Thursday, a few days after France’s visiting foreign minister sought to raise Tehran’s role in regional conflicts, Reuters reported.

Jean-Yves Le Drian flew to Tehran on Monday with a brief to reaffirm European support for a 2015 nuclear deal that opened up Iran’s economy while echoing U.S. concern about Tehran’s missile program and its influence in the region.

“European countries come (to Tehran) and say we want to negotiate with Iran over its presence in the region. It is none of your business. It is our region. Why are you here?” Khamenei was quoted as saying by his official website.

Khamenei said the Islamic Republic would only negotiate on that issue with other states in the region. He described the presence of U.S. military forces in various regions of the world as “malicious and seditious” and said Iran would not ask for permission from Washington to be active in the Middle East.

“We will negotiate with America when we want to be present in America,” he said.

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