Khamenei says the nuclear issue is ‘just an excuse’ by the US to dominate Iran [File: AP]
Speaking in the Iranian capital on Wednesday, Khamenei addressed the American president directly, saying: “You cannot lift one finger against us.”
“You all heard last night the cheap and impudent remarks of the US president,” Khamenei was quoted by Iran’s Mehr news agency as saying.
“He threatened both the establishment and the Iranian nation that he will do this and that, and I will tell him on behalf of the Iranian people: Mr Trump! Like hell, you will!”
Khamenei said the nuclear issue was “just an excuse” by the US to dominate Iran, and that its “real reason” in signing up to the 2015 agreement is to make it bow to American demands.
“The real reason behind the opposition of the US towards the Islamic Republic’s system is the fact that [before the revolution], the US had complete dominance over our country,” Khamenei said.
“Eventually, their hands were severed from Iran by the Islamic Revolution.”
He also described Trump’s decision as “silly”, “impudent” and “worthless”.
Khamenei said that just as Iran does not trust the US, it also does not trust the France, Germany and the UK in keeping the deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The three countries are signatories to the nuclear agreement alongside the US, European Union, Russia, China and Iran.
“Without receiving a strong guarantee from these three European countries, we won’t stick to the nuclear agreement,” Khamenei said.
On Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Theresa May, the UK prime minister, issued a joint statement opposing Trump’s decision, and expressing their commitment to the agreement.
But while expressing support for the deal, they also raised concerns about Iran’s ballistic-missile programme “and its destabilising regional activities”, including in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
Prior to Trump’s announcement on Tuesday, the three leaders attempted to negotiate a side agreement to satisfy the US president’s demands without, dismantling the original deal.
Iran had shut its door on those additional demands, insisting that all the parties to the deal should first fulfil its commitments, before it would be willing to discuss other outstanding issues.
On Wednesday, Ali Larijani, Iran’s parliament speaker, also issued a sharply criticised Trump’s decision as “idiotic” and “shameful”.
“Is it truly a dignified way for Trump to spend all his efforts on destroying everything the previous president of the US has done?” Larijani was quoted by Iran’s Mehr news agency as saying.
Al Jazeera’s Zein Basravi, reporting from Tehran, said that while the “moderate” wing of the country’s ruling establishment want to emphasise diplomacy to deal with the issue, there is more anger among the hardliners.
“The worry is that moderates will be proven wrong, and the hardliners will be able to say, ‘I told you so’.”
Meanwhile, Yukiya Amano, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) nuclear inspectors, said on Tuesday that Iran continues to abide by its commitment in the deal.
“Iran is subject to the world’s most robust nuclear verification regime under the JCPOA, which is a significant verification gain,” he said.
“As of today, the IAEA can confirm that the nuclear-related commitments are being implemented by Iran.”
There have been at least 10 round of inspections conducted by the IAEA in Iran since the deal was signed in July 2015.