Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, signaled his all-important approval of a historic nuclear deal forged with the West, but he portrayed the agreement as having been on Tehran’s terms.
“Our policy toward the arrogant U.S. government won’t change at all,” Khamenei said in televised a speech in Tehran marking Eid, the end of Ramadan.
“After 12 years of struggling with the Islamic republic, the result is that they have to bear the turning of thousands of centrifuges in the country,” Khamenei said, referring to the United States and its five other powers that reached the agreement in Vienna on Tuesday.
“The Americans say they stopped Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” Khamenei said.
“They know it’s not true. We had a fatwa, declaring nuclear weapons to be religiously forbidden under Islamic law. It had nothing to do with the nuclear talks,” he said.
Gulf News reports:
“Khamenei also said Tuesday’s nuclear agreement would not alter Iran’s support for the governments of Syria and Iraq nor its backing of “oppressed people” in Yemen and Bahrain, and the Palestinians.
“The comments reflected the supreme leader’s longstanding position that Iran’s engagement with the six powers was solely to reach a nuclear deal that was in its national interest.”
The Independent notes: “The speech contrasts with the warm language used to greet the pact by Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, and foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, who has said it could lead to co-operation in other areas. Ayatollah Khamenei has in the past appeared to back this view, so long as Washington [acts] in good faith over the nuclear deal.”
However, as The New York Times observers: “Though analysts said his positive portrayal of the agreement would probably quiet hard-line critics in Iran, it also seemed likely to become fodder for critics in the United States, complicating President Obama’s efforts to sell the deal to Congress and the American people.”