Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday that Iran would use the imminent meeting with US officials to remind them of "their duties and responsibilities" in Iraq, but rejected any notion of direct talks until "the policies of this arrogant government change."
In his first public comments on the proposed diplomatic encounter, "The (Iranian) Foreign Ministry, at the request of the Iraqi government, decided to remind them (the United States) of their duties and responsibilities ... in a face-to-face discussion," Khamenei said in the comments reported by state TV and cited by Reuters.
"(These) negotiations (on Iraq) are only about the duty of the occupier regarding the security of Iraq," he added.
"Iran's policy of not negotiating and having relations with America remains the same until the policies of this arrogant government change," said Khamenei, who has the final say in all matters of state under Iran's system of clerical rule.
IRNA's piece about Khamenei's comments quoted more of the Supreme Leader's harsher rhetoric: "How is it possible to hold talks with US arrogant, bullying, expansionist administration and its impolite, bold and demanding officials?," he asked.
"The talks on Iraq was supposed to be held early last year but the Americans misbehaved. However, this time they have extended a request for direct talks."
"Iran's policy on avoiding direct talks with the current US administration is still in force until they change their behavior."