The United States is skeptical and considering tougher action against Iran following the announcement by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that his country will be open to talks on its nuclear program, a spokesman for the White House’s National Security Council said.
“We’re not discussing what we might do,” said Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. “We consider the ayatollah’s speech deeply troubling.”
In his speech on Friday, Khamenei said the United States would have to be more “honest” in dealing with Iran over its nuclear program in order to break the political stalemate that has been holding up a deal the United States believes might have limited its long-term nuclear capability.
“We believe they are not honest,” Khamenei said, referring to the Obama administration.
Still, he gave some indication that Iran might be open to talking.
“At least, in the first stage it should be very simple to talk to the Americans and solve this problem with them,” Khamenei said. “At the end of the negotiation, then we’ll see what is the result of this negotiation.”
That drew applause in the audience.
Asked to respond to Khamenei’s comments, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said, “The United States wants a diplomatic solution to this issue with the leaders of Iran.”
But she added that it was in the interest of the United States to prevent the Iranian regime from obtaining nuclear weapons.