TEL AVIV – During Friday prayers, Iranian Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami warned President-elect Donald Trump “not [to] play with Iran” and vowed that the Islamic Republic would “resist until our last breath.”
Khatami, who is a member of the Assembly of Experts, the body in charge of appointing the country’s supreme leader – a position currently filled by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told the congregation at Tehran University: “They [Democrats and Republicans] are the same and both of them are at the service of the Zionists,” the Fars news agency reported.
He further warned Trump to “be careful not [to] give the lion’s tail [i.e., Iran] another twist” and “avoid doing anything wrong.”
Khatami also praised Iran’s “diplomacy of impartiality” during the presidential elections.
“We do not interfere in other countries’ internal affairs. We respect people of the world and their choices. This has been our policy during the past 37 years,” he said.
The comment echoes those made by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif who said after Trump’s win: “We don’t interfere in other countries’ internal affairs. It is the U.S. people’s choice. But anyone who becomes the US president, he/she should gather a correct understanding of the realities of the world and our region, and face them with realism and pragmatism.”
“The U.S. should implement what it has taken up as a multilateral international undertaking under the nuclear deal,” he added.
Zarif, who was tasked by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani with representing Iran’s interests during the negotiations for the nuclear deal, was described by Iran expert Suzanne Maloney as having “the ability to sell policies that are fundamentally problematic from the American point of view, in a way that comes off as completely persuasive and appealing.”
Meanwhile, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), on Wednesday said that Iran has violated the terms of the nuclear deal again, exceeding a limit of 130 metric tons of heavy water for the second time in the last year.