CIA chief reveals what led Iran to join nuclear talks

Brennan said it took President Rowhani two years to persuade Iran's supreme leader to allow the Islamic Republic to join the nuclear talks (File photo: AP)

Iran’s President persuaded the supreme leader Ayatolah Ali Khamenei to allow the country enter the nuclear talks, or see its economy “destined to go down”, the New York Times reported, citing the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) John Brennan.

Speaking at the Kennedy School of Government at Havard,, he said that President Hassan Rowhani’s election was imperative, but he added that it then took a further two years for the Iranian president to persuade the Ayatolah that “six years of sacntions had really hit”.

He said that while the supreme leader had not spoken publically about the nuclear talks - which reached an initial agreement at the end of last month – he had also not permitted hardliners to speak out against it.

But he suggested that key members of the Rowhani government, including the main negotiator, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, would be blamed if the talks stalled.

“I think Khamenei was in the position of being able to say to Rowhani and Zarif, ‘Okay see if you can get a deal’,” Brennan said.

“Because if you do, Khamenei is going to be able to derive the benefits from it, and if you don’t get one Rowhani has Zarif to blame,” he added, without explaining how the CIA came to gain such information.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:45 - GMT 06:45
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