During an address to workers in Tehran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the United States of undermining its nuclear deal with Iran.
“On paper the United States allows foreign banks to deal with Iran, but in practice they create Iranophobia so no one does business with Iran,” Khamenei charged, as reported by Reuters.
“The United States creates disruptions and then asks us afterwards: ‘Why are you suspicious?'” Khamenei added.
“I have said in full detail, 100 times, that it cannot be trusted, the US cannot be trusted. It is becoming clear now,” he thundered, in a passage translated by International Business Times. “On the paper they write that banks can go and deal with Iran. On the paper it has no value. But in practice they create such a fear in the heart of banks so that they will not approach.”
“Banks don’t dare to approach Iran, the investor does not dare to come, foreign investors do not dare to come and invest,” the Ayatollah complained. “In practice they are doing this. This is why they are worse than all terrorists.”
AFP reports that at a separate event, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani “criticized a decision by the US Supreme Court last week to make $2 billion of frozen Iranian assets available to American victims of terror attacks.”
Rouhani said this was a “totally illegal action, and contrary to international rules and immunity of central banks.” He called it “a violation and open hostility by the United States against the Iranian people.”
Reuters notes that the nuclear deal did not lift all sanctions against Iran, due to the theocracy’s ongoing support of terrorism, and its human rights abuses.
However, Secretary of State John Kerry insisted to his counterpart, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif, that the U.S. was not trying to prevent Iran from dealing with foreign banks.
Kerry suggested Iran’s difficulties were a result of “confusion among some foreign banks,” and promised, “we want to clarify that.”
AFP reports it was told by European officials that “their bankers fear they could face fines or even criminal cases against their US subsidiaries if they rush back to Tehran.”