Tehran on Monday dismissed any link between nuclear talks with the West and protests in Iran, insisting that the domestic situation is not about others.
“European countries and America have linked the negotiation process to the recent problems in Iran. The internal issue in Iran concerns the government and the people. We will not allow any country to interfere in Iran’s internal affairs,” the Foreign Ministry spokesperson said. Nasser Kanaani told reporters in Tehran.
As violent anti-government protests entered their fourth week and nearly 200 protesters were reportedly killed by security forces, European countries, the United States and Canada warned the Islamic Republic not to use force against its citizens.
Washington, Ottawa and the European Union have issued statements and sanctions against Iranian officials who have been identified as responsible for using repressive measures against protesters.
Kanaani stressed that as far as Tehran is concerned, the nuclear talks are not related to the protests and that Iran is ready to continue the process.
Negotiations that the Biden administration began in April 2021 to return to the Iran nuclear deal or JCPOA broke down before the current protests began in mid-September. The EU had presented Tehran and Washington with a draft agreement in early August based on 17 months of talks, but after several rounds of talks, Washington said Tehran’s position was too far from bridging the gaps.
The onset of protests following the murder of Mahsa Amini following her arrest by the notorious “morality” police, and a strong international reaction to the incident have already signaled that the chances of a nuclear deal have diminished further.
While Amini’s murder has become a significant issue, Tehran’s violent reaction to the protesters has complicated the situation.
Any nuclear deal would mean the lifting of crucial sanctions that would hand over tens of billions of dollars to the Islamic Republic, an untenable proposition in the current atmosphere.
Kanaani defended the actions of the clerical government, saying the authorities were defending “people’s security” and that the United States and Europe were intervening in Iran’s internal affairs by defending human rights. He referred to a few incidents in Western capitals where Iranian protesters tried to enter Islamic Republic embassies. He argued that the West has double standards, telling Iran not to use violence against protesters but allowing attacks on embassies.
Both in France and in Britain, the police intervened on a few occasions to prevent any violation of the embassy grounds by the demonstrators. In September, French police used tear gasand attacked protesters near the Iranian embassy.
Meanwhile, protests in Iran have gone far beyond the issue of Amini’s death in police custody. Numerous protest videos across the country show protesters want an end to the Islamic Republic or clerical rule, demanding full social and political freedoms.
83-year-old leader Ali Khamenei has become a particular target of the protests, with people in the streets chanting “Death to Khamenei” or “Death to the dictator”.