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Iran's Supreme Leader Rejects Engagement With U.S.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday rejected any direct engagement with the United States, stressing that the Islamic Republic will not be deceived by Washington's "apparent re-conciliatory behavior."

"We do not want any negotiations whose results are predefined by the U.S.," Khamenei said Tuesday. "Iran will not be deceived by Washington's apparent re-conciliatory behavior."

Khameni made his remarks while addressing hundreds of students on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the seizure of the US embassy in Tehran by radical Islamist students on 4th November, 1979. Iran marks the anniversary of the embassy seizure every year with anti-US demonstrations.

Following the seizure of its Tehran embassy by the Islamist students, the United States officially severed its ties with Tehran in 1980. Though the 52 U.S. diplomats taken hostage by the students were released after 444 days in captivity, diplomatic relations between the two countries are yet to be restored.

Relations between the two countries have deteriorated further over differences on Iran's disputed nuclear program. Though Iran insists that its nuclear program is intended for peaceful civilian power production purposes, the West suspects it just a cover up for the Islamic country's nuclear weapon ambitions. Iran has already survived three sets of sanctions imposed on it by the UN Security Council following its refusal to halt nuclear development work.

Khamenei is Iran's supreme leader and has the final say in all state affairs. His remarks on Tuesday came as the western powers were making serious efforts to persuade Iran to roll back on its disputed nuclear program.

Last month, Mohamed ElBaradei, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), had presented a proposal aimed at easing international concerns over Teheran's disputed nuclear program to diplomats from the U.S., France, Russia and Iran at an IAEA-hosted meeting in Vienna. Except for Iran, all the other nations involved in the negotiations have accepted the proposed plan.

The proposed plan reportedly called for the shipping of low-enriched Iranian uranium to Russia for further enrichment, and then to France for conversion into actual fuel for the medical-purpose reactor in Tehran, which produces isotopes for medical applications.

An agreement to process low-enriched Iranian uranium in a third country is widely seen as an amicable solution to the issue, as it would give Iran the nuclear fuel it requires to run its research reactor while providing guarantees to the West that Tehran will not have enough nuclear material to convert into finer-grade uranium required for making nuclear weapons.

But Iran responded to the proposed deal stating that it would present its formal reply to the proposal only after further negotiations on the issue. Iran also has refused to send two-thirds of its low-enriched uranium (LEU) abroad for further enrichment all once, and is demanding a simultaneous exchange of nuclear fuel produced overseas for its LEU shipped abroad for further enriching.

Iran has also demanded fresh supplies of enriched uranium for its research reactor in Tehran before it ships its LEU abroad for further enriching. However, western diplomats said that they found the Iranian counter proposal unacceptable.

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