Ayatollah says nuclear deal will not change Iran’s relations with U.S.

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from The Washington Post,

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Saturday that hostility between the Islamic republic and the “arrogant” United States will not abate after a landmark nuclear agreement and that Iran will keep supporting regional groups and governments that the West opposes.

“Whether the 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,” Khamenei said at the end of prayers marking the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. “Even after this deal, our policy toward the arrogant U.S. will not change. We don’t have any negotiations or deal with the U.S. on different issues in the world or the region.”

Khamenei’s speech was his first since Iran and six world powers, including the United States, announced on Tuesday that they had reached an agreement in which Iran accepts restrictions on its nuclear power program…

Khamenei’s remarks are significant because, as supreme leader, he has the final word on official policy; if he opposes the agreement, Iran could back out of the deal. His speech was broadcast on state television, and some members of the audience could be heard chanting “Death to America” and “Death to Israel,” as is common at rallies attended by hard-liners.

Khamenei’s criticism appeared to be an attempt to appease hard-liners who oppose negotiations with the United States, which many still refer to as “the Great Satan.” Many of the deal’s critics in the United States have said Tehran is likely to take at least some of more than $100 billion in Iranian assets that will be unfrozen when sanctions are lifted and divert it to groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas, Houthi rebels in Yemen and the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

Khamenei’s remarks are often cryptic to Western ears, and during more than a year and a half of negotiations, he alternately praised Iranian negotiators and condemned the United States. Iran’s negotiators were allied with President Hassan Rouhani, who is considered more of a pragmatist favoring greater engagement with the world. But the negotiators were repeatedly assured during the talks that they were acting with the authority of Khamenei.

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