Iran’s supreme leader praises Obama’s emphasis on diplomacy

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

By Daniel Treiman, JTA

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, welcomed President Obama’s emphasis on diplomacy to resolve tensions over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

Iranian state TV reported Thursday that Khamenei had embraced Obama’s position that there was a “window of opportunity” to address the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomacy.

“This expression is a good word. This is a wise remark indicating taking distance from illusion,” Khamenei told a group of clerics, according to the Associated Press.

But Khamenei also accused the U.S. of forcing Iran to “bow through imposing sanctions,” which he said was an unrealistic approach.

“It will lead their calculations to failure,” he said.

In a Wednesday interview with Fox News, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that war with Iran is not inevitable. He argued that a credible military threat was the best way of persuading Iran to abandon its nuclear push.

“So the paradox is that if they actually believe that they are going to face the military option,” the prime minister added, “then you probably will not need the military option.”

Khamenei has previously referred to Israel as a cancer that should be excised from the region.

“The Zionist regime is a true cancer tumor on this region that should be cut off,” he said in a February speech. “And it definitely will be cut off.”