Iran General NewsIran Supreme Leader: Nuclear deal won't change policy toward...

Iran Supreme Leader: Nuclear deal won’t change policy toward US

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Iran Focus

Tehran, 18 Jul – Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Saturday a nuclear deal reached this week with world powers would not affect Iran’s relationship with the United States or its policies in the Middle East.

Khamenei, who has the last word on high matters of state and had given his blessing to the nuclear talks, moved to dampen any speculation it would lead to a broader rapprochement with the US.

“We have repeatedly said we don’t negotiate with the US on regional or international affairs; not even on bilateral issues. There are some exceptions like the nuclear program that we negotiated with the Americans to serve our interests”.

US policies in the region were “180 degrees” opposed to Iran’s, Khamenei said in a speech in Tehran punctuated by chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel”.

“We will never stop supporting our friends in the region and the people of Palestine, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Lebanon. Even after this deal our policy towards the arrogant US will not change”, he said.

Several Gulf Arab states have long accused Tehran of interference, alleging financial or armed support for political movements in countries including Bahrain, Yemen and Lebanon.

Shiite power Iran denies interference but has pledged support for the Syrian and Iraqi governments, which are both fighting insurgencies by a variety of Sunni armed groups.

Iran’s pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani struck a more conciliatory tone than Khamenei on Saturday. After a phone call with the ruler of the Gulf Arab state of Qatar on Saturday, Rouhani said the nuclear agreement would improve Iran’s relations with its neighbors.

Under the agreement reached on Tuesday, sanctions will be gradually removed in return for Tehran accepting long-term curbs on a nuclear programme that the West has suspected was aimed at creating a nuclear bomb. Iran denies it seeks a nuclear bomb.

The supreme leader said on Saturday he wanted Iranian politicians to examine the agreement to ensure national interests were preserved, as Iran would not allow the disruption of its revolutionary principles or defensive abilities.

But his remarks did not shed light on Iran’s procedures for ratifying the accord, which are not known in any detail.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will brief parliament on 21 July, Iranian media have said, and the agreement will also be examined by the National Security Council, the country’s highest security body.

Zarif is set to travel to Gulf countries shortly after the end of the Eid holiday.

Khamenei’s remarks radiated a broad mistrust of US intentions. He said successive American presidents had sought Iran’s “surrender”, and declaring that if war broke out Washington would come off worst.

He later praised Iranian negotiators who thrashed out the accord in marathon negotiations in Vienna.

“During the nuclear talks, we saw the Americans’ dishonesty over and over”, Khamenei said during meetings with senior Iranian officials and ambassadors from several Muslim states, according to his official website.

“But fortunately our officials fought back and in some cases showed revolutionary reactions”.

Based in part on wire reports

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