Iran’s top leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said a historic nuclear deal with world powers reached this week won’t change Iran’s policy towards the “arrogant” government of the United States.
Khamenei said Saturday in a televised speech that U.S. policy in the Middle East runs counter to Tehran’s strategy and that Iran will continue to support its allies in the Middle East including the Lebanese Hezbollah, Palestinian resistance groups and the Syrian government.
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“Our policy towards the arrogant U.S. government won’t change at all,” he said. He was addressing a large crowd in Tehran, broadcast live on state TV, to mark the end of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.
Khamenei said Iran and the U.S. follow sharply different policies in the Middle East, making more a wide-ranging agreement unlikely.
Iran calls its Lebanese ally Hezbollah a “resistance movement” while the U.S. describes it a terrorist group. And Iran continues to call for the destruction of Israel; Khamenei in his Saturday speech described Israel as a “terrorist, baby-killer government.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has strongly opposed the deal, saying it will enable Iran to emerge from crippling economic sanctions while doing nothing to moderate Iran’s aggressive behavior around the Middle East.
“U.S. policies in the region are 180 degrees in contrast to Iran’s policies,” Khamenei said. “Whether this text (nuclear deal) is approved or disapproved, we won’t give up supporting our friends in the region. The oppressed Palestinian nation, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, the honest mujahedeen of resistance in Lebanon and Palestine will enjoy our constant support.”
Khamenei said Iran’s direct talks with Washington were limited to the nuclear issue and that there can’t be any dialogue or deal with the U.S. over other issues. However, he has said in the past that the door to other issues could open should the U.S. carry out its obligations under the deal in good faith.
“We have no negotiations with America about various global and regional issues. We have no negotiations on bilateral issues,” he said.
Khamenei lauded Iran’s nuclear negotiating team for the landmark nuclear accord but said the document needs to be scrutinzed and has to go through “anticipated legal channels” to ensure that the country’s national interests are preserved.
Iran’s parliament and the Supreme National Security Council, Iran’s highest security decision-making body, are to consider the agreement in the coming days.