Iran’s Supreme Leader: U.S. Still Hostile, Even After Nuclear Deal

Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP
Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP

Despite numerous concessions and a historic treaty that will almost guarantee a pathway to acquiring a nuclear bomb, the Iranian regime’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei says the U.S. is still fundamentally hostile towards his nation and has warned Iranians not to trust their old enemy, “the Great Satan.”

Khamenei made this point on Sunday, during the Iranian New Year (Nowruz) while speaking at a televised rally at the Imam Reza holy shrine in the northeastern state of Mashhad, one of Iran’s holiest Shi’ite cities. According to Reuters, Khamenei said America’s policies have undermined the benefits of sanctions relief and that fear of remaining U.S. sanctions on Iran have scared off European firms, banks, and other companies from doing business with the Islamic Republic.

He made these remarks in spite of billions in sanctions relief set to be released back to Iran and equal if not more funds slated to enter the country as a result of a multitude of business contracts.

“In Western countries and places which are under U.S. influence, our banking transactions and the repatriation of our funds from their banks face problems … because (banks) fear the Americans,” Khamenei reportedly said. “The U.S. Treasury … acts in such a way that big corporations, big institutions and big banks do not dare to come and deal with Iran,” he continued.

He also took this message to social media, sending out tweets from his account, echoing this sentiment:

President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and a series of administration officials made such a point to ensure the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) would pass that some suggested it sounded as if the administration’s talking points were coming from Tehran. President Obama even sent out a Nowruz message to the Iranian people this week.

Nonetheless, Khamenei suggests that President Obama and his administration are enemies:

Iran’s hardliners were vocal in their opposition to the JCPOA because any progress brought about by moderates like Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif would be seen as weakening the supreme leader’s grip on his people.

The day before Khamenei’s speech, Rouhani reportedly sent out a different message over video signaling a willingness and optimism to reap the economic benefits of renewed relations with the Western world as a result of the deal. “I am sure that with cooperation and effort inside the country, and constructive engagement with the world, our economy can bloom and develop,” Rouhani said, according to Reuters.

Khamenei also said that the U.S. has “failed to live up to its commitments under the JCPOA.” Iran has already conducted two illegal missile tests, which are in stark violation of UN Security Council treaties. The Obama administration has yet to take any definitive action, likely a result of the president’s intention to cement his legacy as a result of this now-historic deal.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz.


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