Khamenei slams US support for ‘child-killing Zionists’
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Khamenei slams US support for ‘child-killing Zionists’

Iranian leader urges ‘vigilance’ against American ‘deceit,’ stresses need for strong economy after decades of sanctions

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei attends a meeting with university students in Tehran, Iran, July 2015. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei attends a meeting with university students in Tehran, Iran, July 2015. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday called the US’s self-proclaimed support for human rights and democracy hypocritical in light of Washington’s close ties with “child-killer” Israel and non-democratic states in the region.

“They (the US) support the child-killer Zionist regime and regional allies that aren’t familiar with and don’t understand elections at all,” he said, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.

American support for Saudi Arabia, which is bombing Iran-backed rebels in Yemen, was also harshly criticized by Khamenei.

“They don’t shy away from backing those behind the ongoing state terrorism against the defenseless people of Yemen,” Khamenei told hundreds of air force staff and officers.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, left, talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verified that Iran has met all conditions under the nuclear deal, Vienna, January 16, 2016. (Kevin Lamarque/Pool via AP)
US Secretary of State John Kerry, left, talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verified that Iran has met all conditions under the nuclear deal, Vienna, January 16, 2016. (Kevin Lamarque/Pool via AP)

Khamenei had warned against American duplicity last month, just days after sanctions were lifted. On Monday he reiterated his concerns, calling for “vigilance” against US “deceit.”

“The enemy smiles, you smile as well but vigilance (is needed to confront) the deceit that lies behind the enemy’s smile,” he said.

Despite talk of a possible detente between Washington and Tehran following the landmark nuclear deal signed in July 2015, ties have remained chilly and rhetoric at times heated between the two countries.

Khamenei also praised the upcoming February 26 parliamentary elections in his country, but warned Iranian officials not let the polls distract them from building a strong economy after decades of crippling sanctions from the international community.

Building a vibrant economy would “discourage Iran’s enemies from pursuing economic pressure and imposing their will” on the Islamic republic, he said, in an apparent reference to the sanctions.

AFP contributed to this report.

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