Iran’s supreme leader today rejected the possibility of direct talks with the United States, nixing a proposal by Washington to ease the stalemate over Iran’s nuclear program.

Six world powers – including the US – are due to resume nuclear talks with Iran on Feb. 26 in Kazakhstan, after an eight-month hiatus. Few expect a breakthrough, not least because Iran is preparing for elections in June.

But the words of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – who has the final say on all strategic decisions in Iran, as official holder there of the title “God’s deputy on earth” – appear to have scuppered chances of an immediate direct dialogue with the US.

“You [Americans] are pointing the gun at Iran and say either negotiate or we will shoot. The Iranian nation will not be frightened by the threats,”Ayatollah Khamenei told Air Force commanders in a speech today.

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