London • Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the U.S. of hypocrisy and of seeking to undermine his country’s independence in a speech to air force commanders in Tehran, the state-run Fars news agency reported.
"The Iranian nation should pay attention to the recent negotiations and the rude remarks of the Americans so that everyone gets to know the enemy well," Khamenei said as Iran prepares to celebrate the 35th anniversary of its formation on Tuesday.
The celebrations will include state-sponsored rallies in Tehran and come as the two countries seek to resolve a decade-old dispute over Iran’s nuclear work. Khamenei himself has given consent to Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani to pursue outreach policies, while maintaining that the U.S. is fundamentally Iran’s adversary.
Rouhani signed an interim accord in November with six world powers, which marked the first breakthrough in an effort to curb Iran’s atomic program. Under the agreement, Iran will benefit from about $7 billion in sanctions relief.
Khamenei has urged officials not to pin hopes for economic recovery on the sanctions relief from the landmark deal. Khamenei also called on critics of the deal achieved in Geneva to be fair and give time to Rouhani to pursue its policy of engagement with the outside world.
"The Americans speak in their private meetings with our officials in one way, and they speak differently outside these meetings," Khamenei added. "This is hypocrisy and the bad and evil will of the enemy."
Khamenei’s statement isn’t anything new, according to Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council and author of "A Single Roll of the Dice: Obama’s Diplomacy with Iran."
"Khamenei is signaling, primarily to his domestic audience, that the nuclear deal doesn’t change the larger picture — Iran still distrusts America," he said in a phone interview. "It’s a mirror image of what is said in Washington: The nuclear deal doesn’t mean that the U.S. has begun trusting Iran."
Trust will come at the end of this process, "if at all," Parsi said.
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