Ayatollah Khamenei made the remarks during a virtual meeting on Wednesday with a group of people from Tabriz, the provincial capital of Iran’s northwestern East Azerbaijan Province, on the anniversary of the city’s uprising against the tyrannical rule of the former US-backed Pahlavi regime a year before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
“Concerning the JCPOA, I should just say one word. We have heard many nice words and promises that have been violated and have not been fulfilled in action,” Ayatollah Khamenei said. “But this time around, [we accept] only actions!”
The Leader was referring by abbreviation to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the official name of the landmark nuclear agreement that Iran signed in 2015 with the P5+1 group of states — the US, the UK, France, Russia, and China plus Germany.
“If we see action on the part of the other side, we will take action as well. The Islamic Republic will not be satisfied with mere words and promises this time around,” the Leader said.
The US left the deal under ex-president Donald Trump in May 2018 and successfully pressured the European signatories not to confront the sanctions that Washington re-imposed on Iran as part of their contractual commitments to Tehran.
America’s exit and the European non-compliance that ensued prompted Tehran a year later to begin suspending its JCPOA commitments in several phases in retaliation.
Trump’s successor, Joe Biden, has signaled a willingness to rejoin the JCPOA, but his administration has conditioned a return to the deal on Tehran’s resumption of its commitments.
Tehran, however, argues that the US, as the party that has pulled out of the deal, should first lift its sanctions to gain Iran’s trust before rejoining the accord.
Enemy magnifying Iran’s shortcomings
Elsewhere, the Leader said the country should try to neither conceal nor deny the areas, in which it is lagging behind.
Nevertheless, “all in all, the situation now is very different from what it used to be before the Revolution, and we have made numerous advancements today,” Ayatollah Khamenei noted.
However, the enemy projects the instances of frustration many times bigger, and does not reflect the advancements at all, the Leader said.
The adversaries, Ayatollah Khamenei added, are doing so in order to frustrate the youths and make the Iranian people grow pessimistic about the future.
The country, in turn, is duty-bound to use its advancements to make up for its shortcomings, despite the adversaries’ malign attempts.
On upcoming presidential elections
Meanwhile, Ayatollah Khamenei urged a lively popular participation in the country’s upcoming presidential elections that is slated to be held in June.
The Leader considered a high electoral turnout and the election of the right person for the position to be the “cure for the country’s chronic pains” and what “guarantees its future.”
Ayatollah Khamenei described the polls as a “very great opportunity” for the country, where the public contribution would push back against hostilities.
“This opportunity should, therefore, not be lost,” the Leader said, noting, “The livelier the election, the greater the popular reception of it, and the broader effects and benefits for the country,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
In contrast with the pre-Revolution era, it is now the Iranian people that govern the country and decide its fate, the Leader said.
Leader cautions nation against enemy plots
Ayatollah Khamenei said enemies will try to exercise their enmity towards the country under various guises, including by accusing it of violating human rights or finding fault with its nuclear energy program, missile activities, and regional influence.
“One, however, should pay note that these are all pretexts,” the Leader cautioned and urged “reinforcement of national identity” and “increasing internal power” as the two vehicles through which the nation could triumph against all adversarial plots.