Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a sermon to the crowd during Friday Prayers in the capital Tehran, January 17, 2020. (AFP)

July 31, 2020

The United States is Iran’s main enemy, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, said on Friday, ruling out negotiations with the US over Tehran’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs, calling on Iranians to resist US bullying.

In a speech on live television, Khamenei also said that US sanctions aimed to collapse Iran’s economy and he chastised European powers for failing to salvage the deal whose failure has seen sanctions put back on the Islamic Republic. In 2018, the US unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that has subsequently led to the reimposition of sanctions on the regime.

Khamenei also spoke about the killing of Iran’s elite Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani, saying it had united Iranians and Iraqis.

Soleimani was killed in an airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport in January in a US airstrike, as was Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, or PMF.

Since Soleimani’s killing, Iran-backed militias in Iraq have struggled as Iran faces a domestic economic crisis and cannot provide the level of support provided in the past.

Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi was ushered into power on the promise that he would rein in the militias, and Esmail Ghaani, Soleimani’s successor was forced to apply for a visa for his second visit, a shift in procedure from Soleimani’s time in the position. Al-Kadhimi is seen to be closer to the West than to Iran, and at the end of June the Iraqi premier said that relations between Iran and Iraq would have to be based on non-interference.

The predominantly Shia PMF, that typically receive some funding from Iran, were told by Ghaani that they would now have to rely on Iraqi state funding, AFP reported in June.

The assassination was carried out while the Trump Administration continues its strategy of maximum pressure on the Iranian regime.

Khamenei also said in his televised address that US sanctions on the Islamic Republic aim to collapse Iran’s economy and that the US dream to achieve its goals through sanctions, part of its maximum pressure campaign on Iran, will never come true.

“America’s brutal sanctions on Iran are aimed at collapsing our economy … Their aim is to limit our influence in the region and to halt our missile and nuclear capabilities,” Khamenei said.

Last week, US Senator Ted Cruz said in a video that it was his “belief that we need to collapse the regime,” calling for the US to invoke United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 that would reimpose all international sanctions on Iran.

The supreme leader also called for all Iranians to unite in the fight against coronavirus, in the country that quickly emerged as the regional epicenter of the virus months ago.

Al Arabiya

About Track Persia

Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.