Iran’s avowed opposition to an ‘arrogant’ United States government will not change despite a landmark nuclear deal with world powers, its supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Saturday.
In a speech in which he stressed Iran was sharply at odds with US policy across the Middle East, Khamenei highlighted huge differences over the conflicts in Syria, Yemen and other regional states.
The remarks were greeted by customary chants of ‘Death to America’, a feature of public ceremonies since the Islamic revolution of 1979 which toppled the US-backed shah.
“Our policies toward the arrogant US government will not change,” Khamenei said at a prayer gathering in Tehran marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramzan.
“US policies in the region differ from Iran’s by 180 degrees,” he added.
Tuesday’s nuclear deal between Iran and six powers led by the US has raised hopes it might pave the way for greater cooperation with Tehran elsewhere, particularly in the war against the Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq and Syria.
Tehran and Washington had informal discussions in 2001 when US troops invaded Afghanistan to oust the Taliban from power after the September 11 attacks.
Khamenei did not rule out the possibility of cooperation against IS, noting there can be ‘exceptional circumstances’ that justify talks, such as the nuclear issue, but he insisted there would be no broader detente.
“We haven’t had any other talks with the US on regional and bilateral issues,” said the 76-year-old cleric, who has the final say on all matters of state.
He told worshippers that the 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 US, in contrast, he said, had backed Israeli ‘atrocities’ in Gaza last year.