search

Khamenei slams UK for describing Iran as regional threat

Theresa May told Gulf leaders they must all ‘work together to push back against Iran’s aggressive regional actions’

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei poses for a portrait prior to delivering his message for the Iranian New Year, Sunday, March 20, 2016. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader/AP)
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei poses for a portrait prior to delivering his message for the Iranian New Year, Sunday, March 20, 2016. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader/AP)

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has harshly criticized UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s recent comments about Iran posing a threat to the region

In remarks published on his website Saturday, Khamenei called the UK “a source of evil and misery for the peoples of the region” for the past two centuries.

Earlier this month, May told a summit of Gulf leaders that their countries must all, “work together to push back against Iran’s aggressive regional actions, whether in Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, Syria or in the Gulf itself.”

May told the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council in Bahrain that Britain will help Gulf states “push back” against aggressive regional actions by Iran, in a televised address.

May reaffirmed British support for traditional allies in the region, while also seeking to strengthen post-Brexit trade.

Saudi King Salman (L), British Prime Minister Theresa May (C) and King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa, pose for a picture during a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit on December 7, 2016, in the Bahraini capital Manama. (AFP)
Saudi King Salman (L), British Prime Minister Theresa May (C) and King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa, pose for a picture during a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit on December 7, 2016, in the Bahraini capital Manama. (AFP)

“I want to assure you that I am clear-eyed about the threat that Iran poses to the Gulf and to the wider Middle East,” she said.

However, she also said that the nuclear deal signed last year between world powers and Iran is “vitally important for regional security.”

The agreement, signed in Vienna in July 2015 and in force since January 2016, was the signature diplomatic breakthrough of President Barack Obama’s second term. It calls on Tehran to curb its nuclear program, including its ability to enrich uranium, in exchange for sanctions relief from the US and other nations. Britain was a party to the agreement.

“We secured a deal which has neutralized the possibility of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons for over a decade,” she said. “It has already seen Iran remove 13,000 centrifuges together with associated infrastructure and eliminate its stock of 20 per cent enriched uranium.”

The mainly Sunni Arab Gulf monarchies and Shiite Iran are bitter regional rivals, at odds over a range of issues including the wars in Syria and Yemen.

Iran’s alleged “interference” in the region is a central preoccupation of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council whose most powerful member is Saudi Arabia.

GCC countries are concerned about Iran’s growing influence in the region, especially after last year’s nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers took a step towards ending its international isolation.

Britain and Iran have reopened their embassies in each other’s countries and exchanged ambassadors. Direct British Airways flights between London and Tehran also have resumed after the nuclear accord.

read more:
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed
image
Register for free
and continue reading
Registering also lets you comment on articles and helps us improve your experience. It takes just a few seconds.
Already registered? Enter your email to sign in.
Please use the following structure: example@domain.com
Or Continue with
By registering you agree to the terms and conditions. Once registered, you’ll receive our Daily Edition email for free.
Register to continue
Or Continue with
Log in to continue
Sign in or Register
Or Continue with
check your email
Check your email
We sent an email to you at .
It has a link that will sign you in.