Iran’s supreme leader on Saturday hailed the Iranian masses for demanding the destruction of Israel and America, and said he hoped that God would answer their prayers.
In a viciously anti-US speech delivered in Tehran four days after Iran and the world powers signed an accord designed to thwart Iran’s nuclear program, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praised “the slogans of the people of Iran” which “indicated what directions they’re heading for,” according to the English translation of his speech by Iran’s Press TV.
At Al-Quds day rallies last week, Khamenei noted appreciatively, “You heard ‘Death to Israel’, ‘Death to the US.’ You could hear it. The whole nation was shaken by these slogans. It wasn’t only confined to Tehran. The whole of the nation, you could hear, that was covered by this great movement. So we ask Almighty God to accept these prayers by the people of Iran.”
Khamenei also vowed in the speech, which was broadcast live on state television, that the nuclear agreement with the major powers would not change Iran’s policy against the “arrogant American government” nor would it change the Islamic Republic’s policy of supporting its “friends” in the region.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran will not give up support of its friends in the region — the oppressed people of Palestine, of Yemen, the Syrian and Iraqi governments, the oppressed people of Bahrain and sincere resistance fighters in Lebanon and Palestine… Our policy will not change with regards to the arrogant US government,” said Khamenei.
His remarks were greeted intermittently by chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” at the ceremony, held in Tehran to mark the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
He ridiculed the notion that Iran had capitulated in the talks, and said the world could not have stopped an Iranian nuclear weapons project because Iran never had such a project.
He castigated America for its support of Israel — which he called the “terrorist, child-killing Zionist regime.” And he said Iran could never engage in discussions or reach an agreement with an America that backed Israel.
“Plainly we don’t want war,” Khamenei said. “But if war breaks out, it will be the aggressive, cruel American that loses.”
Under the deal announced Tuesday, Iran’s nuclear program will be scaled back and closely monitored as the US and world powers seek to cut off its ability to develop an atomic weapon. In exchange, Iran will see biting economic sanctions gradually lifted, freeing up tens of billions of dollars in oil revenue and frozen assets.
Hours later, President Barack Obama defended the deal with Iran, insisting that diplomacy was the preferred solution to the Iranian nuclear drive, and that the deal signed Tuesday closed the regime’s path to nuclear weapons. It “actually pushes Iran further away from a bomb. And there’s a permanent prohibition on Iran ever having a nuclear weapon.”
Khamenei backed up his words Saturday with a series of Twitter posts repeating his key messages. “Even with #IranDeal, our policies toward US Arrogant system will see no change. US policies in the region differ through 180° from Iran’s,” said one.
#IranDeal text approved or not, we won’t stop supporting the oppressed nation in Palestine, Yemen, Syria, Bahrain and Lebanon,” said another.
He added: “We have no talks with US on any intl& regional issues.We’ve had occasional talks with US on basic issues like NuclearTalks based on prudence.”
Iran has long been a sponsor of the Syrian regime headed by embattled President Bashar Assad, as well as Lebanon-based terror group Hezbollah. The Shiite Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy, has sent forces to fight alongside the Assad regime against rebels sworn to overthrow it.
The supreme leader’s comments reflected his longstanding position that Iran‘s engagement with the six powers was solely to reach a nuclear deal that was in its national interest.
He stressed that the deal with Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany was not yet law and would have to be carefully scrutinized.
“They really took pains and worked hard,” Khamenei said of Iran‘s negotiating team.
“The text that has been prepared, whether it is approved or not, they have done their part and they should have their reward,” he added.
As Iran‘s supreme leader, Khamenei has the final word on all policy matters, foreign and domestic, including on the nuclear deal.
In numerous speeches before this week’s accord, he appeared ambiguous about the talks, consistently talking down the chances of success but at the same time praising Iran‘s negotiators as trustworthy and brave.
In his first comment on the deal, Khamenei had warned Wednesday that some of the world powers are unreliable, and that the agreement must be scrutinized to ensure the other parties don’t violate it.
“We know it well that some of the six governments from the opposite party are by no means reliable,” Khamenei told Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a letter published on the supreme leader’s Persian-language website, in a possible allusion to the United States. Translations of the letter’s text were published on Iranian English news sites.
Khamenei had the final say in approving the deal, despite cautioning weeks earlier that the United States couldn’t be trusted in the talks. On the Saturday before the deal was struck, Khamenei also told students that Iran would continue to fight the US’s “global arrogance” whether or not an accord was reached.