Iran leader keen to boost ties with world, ‘not merely’ US and Europe

A handout picture provided by the office of Iran's Supreme Leader on April 30, 2018, shows Ayatollah Ali Khamenei waving to the crowd as he delivers a speech during Labor Day

Tehran (AFP) – Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Monday that Iran is keen to develop ties with the rest of the world, which is “not merely” the United States and European countries.

The all-powerful leader’s remarks, published on the website, come with the United States threatening to quit a landmark 2015 nuclear deal with the Islamic republic.

“I don’t believe in cutting ties with the world but relying on the outside of the borders is a mistake within a mistake,” Khamenei was quoted as saying.

“We must certainly be wise, smart and resolute in our relations with the world, but we should also know that the world is not merely America and several European countries.

“The world is big and (we) must have relations with different countries,” he added, according to extracts of a speech he gave in Tehran published on his website.

Khamenei is also quoted as blasting the US Treasury Department, denouncing it as an “economic war chamber against the system of the Islamic republic”.

Since taking office in January 2017, US President Donald Trump has adopted a tough stance against Iran and repeatedly denounced the landmark nuclear deal which Tehran reached with world powers to curb its nuclear programme.

Trump has said the deal — which Iran signed with Britain, France, China, Russia, the United States and Germany — must be “fixed” by May 12 or Washington will walk away.

Most world powers however say the nuclear deal is working as intended for now and is the best way to keep Iran from acquiring the bomb.

During Sunday’s speech, Khamenei also accused the United States of waging an “economic and cultural war” against Iran, according to his website.