POLITICS

Iran's supreme leader: Sanctions can't force unwanted concessions from Tehran at nuclear talks

11/20/2013 04:31 EST | Updated 01/25/2014 04:01 EST
TEHRAN, Iran - Iran's supreme leader says pressure from economic sanctions will never force the country into unwelcome concessions as nuclear negotiators resumed talks with world powers.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also blasted U.S. government policies, including threats of military action, but said Iran has "no animosity'" toward the American people and seeks "friendly" relations.

Wednesday's message appeared tailored in part for Khamenei's hard-line audience as he spoke to members of the paramilitary Basij force, which is controlled by the powerful Revolutionary Guard.

Khamenei's remarks also reflect Iran's internal divisions over the nuclear talks and outreach to the U.S. by Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, who has the backing of Khamenei.

Talks resume later Wednesday in Geneva over a possible nuclear deal that could lift some sanctions in exchange for curbs on Iran's nuclear program.