Iran

Khamenei: “We Must Have Relations with Whole World Except the U.S. and Zionist Regime”

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged his nation to engage with every country in the world except for the United States and Israel, The Independent reported on Saturday.

“I do not favour cutting ties with West, but we must know who we are dealing with,” Khamenei said, according to Iran’s Mehr News Agency. “We must have relations with whole world except the United States and the Zionist regime; we must know that world is not only west and Europe. Today, powers are spread in the world and east of world and Asia is a vast region.”

Khamenei also urged the Assembly of Experts, the influential body that is designated to appoint his successor, to “avoid any discreet, shyness or caution and only consider, God, the truth and the country’s needs” in selecting a future leader.

These comments and others were also published on Khamenei’s Twitter account, where the supreme leader further indicated that despite recent deals with Europe and the receipt of $100 billion in sanctions relief, Iran hasn’t seen much benefit from last year’s nuclear deal.

Khamenei also accused the U.S. of infiltrating Iran, echoing his charges from last year that the U.S. is using “money and sexual attractions” to subvert his government.

The supreme leader notably defended the recent Iranian elections for parliament and the Assembly of Experts as “competitive,” but did not address the disqualification of 99% of the candidates said to be reformers prior to the election.

In an apparent reference to sanctions, Khamenei added, “We’re damaged by west & shouldn’t forget what west did to us.”

The Obama administration is facing growing bipartisan pressure to impose sanctions on Iran after it launched several ballistic missiles on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, in violation of United Nations Security Council resolution 2231. There is also growing international pressure to take action against the Islamic Republic, with French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault saying Sunday that sanctions could be taken against Iran for the illicit tests.

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