Khamenei blasts Saudi-Israel ties as attack on Islam

Supreme leader also accuses US of involvement in Turkish coup, claims Iranians not benefiting from nuclear deal

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during a meeting in Tehran, Iran, Augist 1, 2016. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during a meeting in Tehran, Iran, Augist 1, 2016. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tweeted his anger Monday at the recent strengthening of ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

He harshly criticized the recent meetings between Israel and Saudi officials as an attack on Islam.

“Revelation of Saudi government’s relations with Zionist regime was stab in the back of Islamic Ummah,” he tweeted. The term “ummah” literally means “community,” and refers to the entire Islamic world, linking Shiite Iran with the Saudi Sunni regime.

He went on to accuse the Saudis of a multitude of crimes in Yemen, tweeting, “Aggression on #Yemen & nonstop bombing of ‘houses, hospitals & schools’ & continuous infanticide are other big crimes of Saudi government.”

Riyadh, he claimed, was doing the bidding of the US: “Today, #Saudi government is in hands of unwise people, but close scrutiny shows US hands are behind all these issues.”

While on the subject of US involvement in foreign countries, he also claimed that Washington was behind the failed military coup in Turkey.

“In recent events in #Turkey, strong accusations are raised against Americans being behind coup; if proved, it is a huge scandal for US.”

Also on Monday, Khamenei said in an official statement that average Iranians have not seen any benefit from the nuclear deal with world powers.

“Weren’t the supposed sanctions lifted to change the life of the people? Is any tangible effect seen in people’s life after six months?” state media quoted Khamenei as saying.

Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters, said the US has continued to thwart Iran’s economic relations with other countries despite the landmark accord. He said Tehran would not accept any further talks with Washington due to what he described as US violations of the deal.

The deal, which went into effect in January, limited Iran’s nuclear program in return for lifting some sanctions.

There has been ongoing disappointment in the results of the deal from various Iranian figures.

“Iran has done its part. The blockage comes from the Americans — the Europeans should put more pressure on them,” said a European diplomat in Tehran, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“There are political leaders in the United States who make Iran out to be the devil and have not understood the goal of this accord,” he added.

“The US used this deal to put more pressure on us, trying to make us change our behavior in the Middle East or give up our ties with (Lebanese militia) Hezbollah,” said Amir Mohebbian, a Tehran-based political analyst with ties to politicians of all hues.

“History has taught us we should not trust the United States.”

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