Khamenei: Iran will fight against US arrogance regardless of nuke deal

Supreme leader calls America ’embodiment of global arrogance,’ says challenging it is at core of Islamic Revolution

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech in Tehran (AP/Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader/File)
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech in Tehran (AP/Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader/File)

Iran will continue to fight the United States’ “global arrogance” whether or not the world powers and Iran reach a nuclear agreement, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Saturday.

Speaking to a group of students in Tehran, Khamenei said Iran’s “fight [against] global arrogance is the core of our [1979 Islamic] revolution and we cannot put it on hold.

“Get ready to continue your fight against the global arrogance. The US is the true embodiment of the global arrogance,” said the Iranian leader in response to a student’s question about what would happen if the talks to curb the country’s nuclear program were successful.

At the annual al-Quds Day march in Tehran on Friday, hundreds of thousands shouted “Death to America,” burned American flags and displayed posters of President Barack Obama in flames.

Talks between Iran and the US-led P5+1 world powers were seemingly stalled over major differences this weekend, with both the US and Iran threatening to walk away.

Diplomats said it remained unclear whether negotiators would be able to meet the Monday deadline, the fourth since the current round of talks began 15 days ago.

US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif met on Saturday with European Union foreign policy chief Frederica Mogherini were conferring with other foreign ministers involved. German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius are both in Vienna. British Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond was expected later Saturday.

Any deal is meant to secure long-term and verifiable restrictions on parts of Iran’s nuclear program that are technically adaptable to make weapons in exchange for sanctions relief for Tehran.

The scope of access to UN inspectors monitoring Iran’s program remains a sticking point in the negotiations. The Americans want no restrictions while Iranian officials say unrestricted monitoring could be a cover for Western spying.

Another unresolved matter is Iran’s demand for a UN arms embargo to be lifted as part of sanctions relief, a stance supported by Russia and China but opposed by the US and some Europeans.

An Israeli report aired on Friday indicated that a deal had already been reached — with major US concessions — and is set to be signed this upcoming week.

Ehud Yaari, the Middle East affairs commentator for Israel’s Channel 2 television, said the deal was reached because the Americans “have made a series of capitulations over the past two to three weeks in almost every key aspect that was being debated.”

Yaari said that even those in the US who had supported the agreement with Iran “admit that it is worse than they thought.” Now, he said, the ball is in the court of Democratic lawmakers who have to decide whether to support President Barack Obama as he seeks to secure Congressional approval, or to join the vocal Republican opposition to an agreement.

One major concession, Yaari said, is the issue of inspections of Iranian nuclear sites, which has long been a sticking point in the negotiations. According to Yaari, the US negotiators have given in to an Iranian demand that inspections are “managed” — in other words, there will be no surprise visits, only those that are pre-arranged and approved by the Iranian regime.

There was no official response from the US on the Israeli report.

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