Iran’s supreme leader voiced support Wednesday for the negotiations over his country’s nuclear program, but insisted there are limits to the concessions Iran will make in exchange for an easing of the sanctions choking its economy.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also blasted Israel as being “the rabid dog” of the region, bent on besmirching Iran’s reputation. French President Francois Hollande rejected those comments as “unacceptable,” adding they would only complicate the nuclear talks beginning later Wednesday in Geneva, spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said.
Khamenei, speaking before a paramilitary group in Tehran, aimed to placate hardliners and show his backing for the Iranian officials preparing to meet with international negotiators.
Vallaud-Belkacem told reporters in Paris that Hollande’s Cabinet discussed Iran just hours before the nuclear talks were set to resume. Despite Hollande’s displeasure over Khamenei’s criticism of Israel, she said France still hopes for a deal and its position has not changed in the talks.