Middle East

Iran nuclear: Ayatollah Khamenei chastises 'arrogant' US

Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (centre) greeting Iranian university students during a ceremony in Tehran (11 July 2015) Image copyright EPA
Image caption The supreme leader (centre) told supporters that US policies in the Middle East are diametrically opposed to Iran's policies

Iran's stance towards the "arrogant" US will not change despite the nuclear deal reached earlier this week, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said.

In a speech marking the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, he said Iran still had sharp differences with the US, above all over the Middle East.

Iran would continue to back Syria, Iraq, the Palestinians and "oppressed people" in Yemen and Bahrain, he said.

The deal on Iran's nuclear programme came after years of negotiations.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Many Iranians support the president's stance over the Palestinian issue and the plight of Shia Muslims in Bahrain and Yemen
Image copyright AP
Image caption 'Death to America' and 'Death to Israel' slogans were chanted during Friday prayers at the Tehran University campus in spite of the nuclear deal agreed earlier this week

The agreement limits Iran's nuclear activities for at least 10 years in exchange for the gradual lifting of sanctions which have hampered the country's economy.

"Whether the [nuclear] deal is approved or disapproved, we will never stop supporting our friends in the region and the people of Palestine, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Lebanon," Ayatollah Khamenei said.

"Even after this deal our policy towards the arrogant US will not change."

The supreme leader also denied that Iran was intending to create a nuclear bomb.

"The Americans say they stopped Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon," he said in his speech at the Mosala mosque in Tehran.

"They know it's not true. We had a fatwa [religious ruling] declaring nuclear weapons to be religiously forbidden under Islamic law. It had nothing to do with the nuclear talks.

"We have repeatedly said we don't negotiate with the US on regional or international affairs; not even on bilateral issues.

"There are some exceptions like the nuclear programme that we negotiated with Americans to serve our interests... US policies in the region are diametrically opposed with Iran's policies."

The supreme leader said it was now necessary for Iranian politicians to scrutinise the nuclear agreement and make sure that Iran's national interests were being preserved.

Correspondents say that Ayatollah Khamenei's views are in contrast to the acclaim that the accord has received from President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

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