On November 2, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei warned that compromise with the United States would only aggravate the country’s problems. He accused Washington of continuing hostile policies against Tehran and not abiding by the terms of the 2015 nuclear agreement.
“Will a government that does not abandon enmity toward Iran for a moment resolve the country’s problems?” Khamenei was speaking to a group of students a day before Iran marks the 37th anniversary of the US embassy takeover by a group of Iranian students in 1979.
“America’s main goal is to prevent Iran’s progress and development,” Khamenei said, arguing that dialogue with the Americans would be unhelpful for two reasons. “First, they’re liars, untrustworthy, deceitful and backstabbers. Second, America itself is facing a crisis. How can a country mired in crisis solve another country’s problems?”
The Iranian leader claimed that the United States had violated the terms of the nuclear deal by refusing to lift all anti-Iran sanctions, and questioned the wisdom of reformists in Iran who favor normalization of relations with the West and cooperation with Washington over regional crises in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen.
Tension between President Hassan Rouhani’s centrist government and Iran’s hardliners have noticeably increased since Tehran reached the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreement with world powers in July 2015.
While Khamenei has supported Rouhani’s nuclear deal to end Iran’s economic isolation, he continues to accuse the US of violating the pact and stoking instability in the region. The reason for this double-faced approach is to placate hardline clerics and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) leaders who view Rouhani’s engagement with the West with suspicion. Khamenei’s anti-American rhetoric also signals that the Iranian leader is insecure about the regime’s stability and uses anti-Americanism to maintain his legitimacy and hold on power at home.