AFP: A top hardline cleric accused the United States on Friday of engaging in an anti-Iranian conspiracy and said Washington’s sustained arrogance ruled out any chance of direct talks between the two foes.
TEHRAN (AFP) — A top hardline cleric accused the United States on Friday of engaging in an anti-Iranian conspiracy and said Washington’s sustained arrogance ruled out any chance of direct talks between the two foes.
Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami’s tirade, in a Friday prayer sermon, came a day after thousands of Iranians staged a mass anti-US rally outside the now-closed US embassy in central Tehran where crowds shouted “Death to America!”
Every year on November 4, Iran holds the rally to mark the capture of the mission by radical Islamist students on that day in 1979.
Since then, the United States and Iran have had no diplomatic ties.
Khatami, known for his vitriolic sermons, said the United States has been conspiring against Iran since the embassy takeover.
“America can take its dream of negotiating with Iran to its grave as long as it retains its habit of being arrogant,” he told worshippers who had gathered at Tehran University for the weekly Muslim prayers.
The United States, along with Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany, is expected to sit with Iran later this month to discuss Tehran’s controversial nuclear programme.
But there are no reports or talks of any possible direct negotiations between Iranian and US officials, which have been ruled out by Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who formulates Tehran’s foreign policy.
Khatami, a staunch supporter of the Islamic regime, said Washington “had been conspiring against the Islamic Iran for 31 years only because the Islamic Iran wants to be independent.”
“The US is arrogant. For no reason, it thinks it is the caretaker of the world,” the cleric said.
“For no reason it came to Afghanistan and bombarded innocent people. For no reason it came to Iraq and turned the country into a site for massacre.”
He said US is the “Great Satan” as “whatever habits Satan has, we see them in the US administration.” Iranian officials and hardline clerics regularly call US as the Great Satan.
The United States has not ruled out a military strike against Iran for stopping its nuclear programme which it suspects is aimed at making weapons. Tehran denies the charge.