By ISRAEL HAYOM—
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei described arch-foe Israel as an “illegitimate and bastard” regime on Sunday, as he hit out at its alliance with the United States.
“The Zionist regime is an illegitimate and bastard regime,” Khamenei said in remarks carried by his website.
“The Americans have the highest indulgence towards the Zionists and they have to. But we do not share such indulgence,” he said.
Iran’s supreme leader was speaking to students on the eve of the anniversary of the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
Khamenei’s comments seem to undo the work done by Iran’s recently elected “moderate” President Hasan Rouhani, who has been on a charm offensive of late. Rouhani’s semingly moderate approach has led to a renewed round of nuclear negotiations with the P5+1 — U.N. Security Council permanent members Britain, China, France, Russia and the U.S., plus Germany.
Khamenei voiced his support on Sunday for Iran’s talks with world powers over its disputed nuclear program, while expressing pessimism about them.
“No one should see our negotiating team as compromisers,” Khamenei, Iran’s top decision-maker on its nuclear drive, was quoted as saying on his official website. “I am not optimistic about the negotiations but, with the grace of God, we will not suffer losses either,” he added.
A new round of talks between Iranian negotiators and representatives from the P5+1 group of world powers is scheduled in Geneva for November 7 and 8. All decisions on the nuclear program, which the West suspects is masking a military drive despite repeated Iranian denials, rest with Khamenei.
“All the better if the negotiations bear fruit but if there are no results, the country should rely on itself,” said Khamenei, while criticizing the U.S. policy of approaching the talks on two fronts of sanctions and diplomacy.
“The Americans smile and express desire for negotiation; on the other hand, they immediately say that all options are on the table,” he said. “We should not trust an enemy that smiles at us.”
Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that “there are also those who call openly and directly for our annihilation, led, of course, by Iran. Iran keeps trying to arm itself with nuclear weapons, and its target has not changed — they may have changed their methods, but not the ultimate target. Nor have they changed their ideology.”
Addressing the cabinet ministers, he said: “I would like to direct your attention to the fact that tomorrow, this regime will mark the anniversary of the takeover of the American Embassy in Tehran, which they have marked every year for 34 years. They call it Death to America Day. This makes it very clear that what needs to be done now is to continue to apply pressure on the Iranian regime. The existing pressure has brought them to the negotiating table, and I am convinced that if the pressure persists, and doesn’t let up, Iran will abandon its military nuclear capabilities. But if the pressure is eased, Iran will advance toward that goal.”
“We are committed to ensuring that does not fulfill this goal,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, for his part, Rouhani denied a report in Jomhouri-e Eslami, an official Iranian newspaper published in Tehran, which said that an Israeli rabbi had sent Rouhani a letter on behalf of Netanyahu.