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Friday, October 21, 2016

By Bozorgmehr Sharafedin Nouri

DUBAI, (Reuters) – The United States said on Tuesday it was very disturbed by anti-U.S. hostility voiced by Iran’s top leader after a nuclear deal, as both countries’ top diplomats sought to calm opposition to the accord from political hardliners at home.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said a speech by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Saturday vowing to defy American policies in the region despite a deal with world powers over Tehran’s nuclear program was “very troubling”.

“I don’t know how to interpret it at this point in time, except to take it at face value, that that’s his policy,” he said in the interview with Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television.

“But I do know that often comments are made publicly and things can evolve that are different. If it is the policy, it’s very disturbing, it’s very troubling,” he added.

Ayatollah Khamenei, the highest authority in Iran, told supporters on Saturday that U.S. policies in the region were “180 degrees” opposed to Iran’s, in a Tehran speech punctuated by chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel”.

Under the accord reached in Vienna last week, Iran will be subjected to long-term curbs on a nuclear program that the West suspected was aimed at creating an atomic bomb but which Tehran says is peaceful. In return U.S., European Union and U.N. sanctions on Iran will be lifted. The deal was signed by the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.

It was a major policy achievement for both U.S. President Barack Obama and Iran’s pragmatic elected President Hassan Rouhani. But both leaders have to sell it at home to powerful hardliners in countries that have been enemies for decades, referring to each other as the “Great Satan” and a member of the “Axis of Evil”.

In the case of Iran, the deal must win final approval from the National Security Council and ultimately Khamenei, who has so far withheld final judgement while saying the text must still be scrutinized.

In the United States, Republicans who control Congress have lined up against the deal, but Obama says he will veto any congressional objection.

Kerry also has the task of selling the agreement to skeptical U.S. allies in the region. Israel is implacably opposed, and Sunni Muslim-ruled Arab allies of the United States, such as Saudi Arabia, are suspicious of an arrangement that would benefit their rival, Shi’ite, non-Arab Iran.

Kerry said the deal would improve regional security by preventing Iran from seeking atomic weapons.

“The agreement gets rid of the nuclear weapon potential. But if we do the right things … then I believe the Gulf states and the region can feel much more secure than they do today,” he said.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister who developed a warm rapport with Kerry during weeks of unprecedented face-to-face talks, defended the deal in Iran’s hardliner-dominated parliament. He said most of Iran’s conditions had been met, including so-called “red lines” set by Khamenei.

“We don’t say the deal is totally in favor of Iran. Any negotiation is a give and take. We have definitely shown some flexibility,” the foreign minister said. “I tell you as I told the Supreme Leader, we did our best to preserve most of the red lines, if not all.”


Khamenei’s own response to the deal has been ambiguous: he has thanked the negotiating team but has not given the accord an explicit endorsement. Supporting the negotiators was a political risk and by avoiding overt approval of the final deal he can avert criticism if it falls apart.

At the same time, his criticism has not been so severe as to torpedo the deal and block a lifting of sanctions, which ordinary Iranians are desperate to see.

Nevertheless, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and other hardliners have started to attack the deal directly, criticizing a U.N. Security Council resolution passed on Monday endorsing it.

They may be trying to persuade Khamenei to block the deal by presenting it as having violated “red lines” he set, particularly provisions that leave in place an arms embargo and restrictions on Iran’s missile program.

Zarif told lawmakers the U.N. resolution restricted only development of missiles designed to carry nuclear warheads, and this would not affect Iran’s missile program as Iran does not have nuclear weapons.

Revolutionary Guard chief Mohammad Ali Jafari said on Monday, according to Tasnim news agency: “Some parts of the (resolution) draft have clearly crossed the Islamic republic’s red lines, especially towards Iran’s military capabilities.”

Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior advisor to Khamenei on foreign affairs, broke a long silence on Tuesday and said the deal was “not without flaws”, although he did not reject it outright.

“No one can tell us which weapons we can have…. Except nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction, Iran will continue making all the missiles, fighter jets, anti-missile defense systems, tanks and other armored equipment it needs,” he was quoted as saying on the Supreme Leader’s website.


The prospect that sanctions will be lifted is spurring businesses to make plans to return to Iran.

In Paris, Laurent Fabius, who will make the first trip to Iran by a French foreign minister in 12 years, said France’s hard line towards Tehran at the nuclear negotiations would not hurt its businesses after sanctions are lifted.

Despite a long history of commercial, political and social links with Iran France took one of the hardest lines of the six powers negotiating the accord.

“It’s true that France was very firm,” Fabius told France Inter radio. “Will French firms be penalized? My answer is no because in the past we had an important presence in Iran. Our (expertise) is excellent in a lot of fields and the Iranians are serious. You know in foreign policy, I think you lose nothing in being respected.”

French firms such as carmaker Puegeot and oil major Total had leading positions in the Iranian market before the United States and European Union imposed tighter sanctions in 2011.

(Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; Writing by William Maclean; Editing by Peter Graff)

Iranians hold pictures of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as they celebrate in the street following a nuclear deal with major powers, in Tehran July 14, 2015. REUTERS/TIMA

  • gmccpa

    Wow. Can you imagine how disgusted we would be if any of our leaders – Congress, Senators, Pres. Candidates – vowed not to honor this deal. Oh wait……..

  • yabbed

    And Iran is very disturbed by the chest thumping and treats coming from conservative leaders in Congress against Iran. Each side has its crazies. This is the time to listen to the rational leaderships of the USA and Iran and the other 5 leading powers in the world.

    • 2ThinkN_Do2

      Where and who is the rational leadership of the USA?

      • yabbed

        The rational leadership of the USA lies with President Obama who wisely has chosen negotiation over yet another debilitating war in the Middle East. And the rational leadership of the USA lies with the American public who does not support yet another debilitating war in the Middle East on behalf of Israel.

        • 2ThinkN_Do2

          I know who the President is, but rational leadership was the question.

          • yabbed

            Only the neocons and Israel First crowd find war preferable to diplomacy. There’s nothing rational about chest thumping off to war.

          • 2ThinkN_Do2

            Why do you keep talking about war, I never mentioned war.

  • Jake Hawkes

    Iran said on Tuesday that they were very disturbed by the warmongering coming out of the United States. Senator Tom Cotton has vowed to do everything he can to see that the US bombs Iran instead of negotiating a deal on nuclear proliferation. Senator John McCain made headlines with his chant “bomb, bomb, bomb Iran”. The entire Republican Party and especially all of the neo-cons who lied the country into attacking Iraq seem ready to declare war on Iran immediately.

    Ayatollah Khamenei laughed out loud when he heard that the Americans were “disturbed” by his rhetoric after the deal was announced. “American politicians continue to show their ignorance and arrogance. After 30 plus years of clandestine American meddling, harsh sanctions, threats of war, assassinations and lies about Iran they think that we will automatically start trusting them? And in spite of their obvious willingness to throw anyone…any country…their own people under the bus for the sake of their own internal politics…they can forget that we have internal politics too?” he said.

    “The American people must be so embarrassed to think they have actually elected these morons…”


    • David

      What rational thinking Americans are embarrassed about is Kerry needing time to “interpret” the remarks by the ragheads in Iran. WTF do you think “Death to America” means? And who gives a s…. what the Ayatollah Khamenei thinks about the American people?

      • Jake Hawkes

        If an American is really rational and capable of critical thinking he has read the real story of how the US and Israel have demonized Iran for the past several decades, when they have actually been the aggressors and the terrorists in the Middle East.
        Ooooo….does it scare you that they chant Death to America? Don’t cry…it will be alright….
        All the American people should care what the Iranians think of them. Every American should be ashamed of the record of the US relative to Iran and ashamed of the neo-con war mongers who want more American men and women to be maimed and die fighting a war for nothing as they did in Iraq.
        Read Understanding the US-Iran Crisis by Phyllis Bennis. It is a small book with few big words…even you can handle it.

        • David

          I am ashamed of the record of the U.S. relative to Iran. We should have bombed the s–t out of them when they attacked our embassy and held our citizens as hostages. Those Muslim slime know only one thing — the business end of a rifle. Read that garbage called the Koran. It is okay to lie to and kill the Infidel. Their f–ing prophet, Mohammed, was a worthless pedophile. Married his nine year old niece? F them all!

          • Jake Hawkes

            David, David, David…

            We tried that, “bomb the shirt out of them” stuff in Iraq and look where it got us. Now Iraq is a failed state and there are more and more Muslims who live to kill Americans. Because of the stupidity and consequential misadventures of the GWB administration, the place is a mess.

            The Middle East is a complicated place and there is no military solution to the problems there.

            As Christopher Hitchens said, religion poisons everything. The Torah, the Bible, the Koran…they are all full of crap. God didn’t make man, man made God in order to manipulate the masses.

          • David

            I am not worried about Iraq developing nuclear weapons. I am worried about Iran. I think there is a military solution to their nuclear weapons development. I think there is a good chance that Israel will use it on them.

          • Jake Hawkes

            I don’t know anyone that seriously believes that anymore. The Whitehouse says Netanyahu is a chicken sht, remember?

            Even the Pentagon says it would only piss them off, give more power to the Iranian hard liners and ensure that they would then find a way to build a bomb. They say it can’t be stopped.

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            The only solution Dahveed wants is to hand Iran to Israel. He’s so full of BS, it’s dripping out his ears.

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            Awww….David…or should I say, Dahveed? Grow the hell up. You are not going to spend one more dime to protect Israel who doesn’t need one damn dime more of our tax dollars. The borders of Dahveed’s Israel keep expanding and expanding…using the same BS Dahveed uses to skank his way through life. Hater boys are always taker boys too.

      • Eleanore Whitaker

        No..we are embarrassed by the young gestapos of the GOP. They can’t shut their militant mouths long enough to understand the word “diplomacy.” It’s “MY way or the highway.” is NOT..not on MY tax dollars. These CONfederates want war? Pay out of your red state funding, not the federal kitty.

        • David

          Eleanore — There is a difference between “diplomacy” and “capitulation”. What Kerry did was kowtow to those Muslim a–holes. As far as tax dollars go? I retch every time I think of $500 million annually going to those butchers at Planned Parenthood. Hope that c–t likes her Lamborghini.

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            First of all, David, Kerry as the representative to the US in this treaty agreement was only one country’s representative.

            I know the difference between Israeli domination and extermination of Palestinians. Do you? You don’t like it when facts are presented. So…do go to any unbiased site and check out how many Palestinians are dead at Israel’s hands. Not nearly as many as the Israelis who love to play victim, get tons of US funds to “protect” Israel who does a bang up job all on its own decimating neighboring countries like Lebanon 3 times and now it is greedily and hungrily eyeing how much more land Israel can steal from Iran if only US taxpayers would go to war with Iran.

            Kerry was not the ONLY negotiator asshat. As for you $500 million for Planned Parenthood, seems to me if Israeli women kept their damn legs closed more often, Israel wouldn’t have to bulldoze Palestinian homes to build more kibbutzes.

            Hope your dick stick is sterile. Your Mommy should have kept legs closed before she spawned an asshat hater boy like you.

          • David

            My, my, my!!! Such invective from you! First, some geography. Israel does share a border with Iran. So, they are not going to “steal” land from Iran in the event of a war. Second, they haven’t released all of the details of the agreement, but want the Congress to approve it. Kinda like, ‘You have to pass it in order to find out what’s in it.” Finally, your fantasizing about my penis is a bit premature, don’t you think?

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            You sir are an obnoxious, offensive man. But, you already knew that. It’s your stock in trade in how to insult the intelligence of others.

            You are such a blathering right wing idiot. No kidding…Am I supposed to not know that Iran shares a border with Israel? Duh….my Dominican nuns never allowed me to see a geography map?

            Not true…the details of the agreement WERE released. Check the BBC news channel..unlike your US Right Wing billionaire media moguls who OWN the US news, BBC and the CBC have no compunctions about putting the details out there. Where the hell have you been?

            Stuff it penis brain. You are a useless pustule.

          • David

            There you go again…can’t seem avoid this constant reference to the male genitalia. Does the phrase “penis envy” ring a bell?

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            Men like you are blowhards who swagger your way through life not really offering much more than your big mouths. All talk, no action. That’s you Dahveed.

            How about you stop trying to label a perfect stranger you’ve never met and start looking into your own DIRTY boy backyard? You don’t have a penis…those are not testicles either…they are raisins attached to a limp noodle.

          • David

            Eleanore– What is it with your fascination with my pecker? Haven’t had a date in a while?

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            Limp noodles don’t interest me. Neither do men like you who can’t make any rational sense.

          • David

            But, apparently my penis does.

  • Dominick Vila

    Is Kerry so naive that he does not understand the difference between a nuclear weapons development agreement, and unconditional surrender. or is he just trying to appease members of Congress?
    The agreement reached with Iran on the development of nuclear weapons has absolutely nothing to do with Iran’s ideological goals and their regional policies. Iran, like most countries, especially those in the troubled Persian Gulf and Middle east regions, has geo-political, economic, and spiritual goals, which they have no intention to abandon, the same way we did not abandon our goals when we signed nuclear agreements with the Soviet Union and China several decades ago.

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    What some people in the US fail to understand about Iranians is that they are hugely sensitive to the tone of the media in their country. When you have half of the Jewish population of Noo Yawk protesting this treaty, who wouldn’t expect blowback from Iran after the US and P51 allies thrashed out a historic treaty?

    You know why Israel wants a war with Iran…It is No. 2 in the world as a supplier of oil. Don’t be fooled that all of the Iran sanctions didn’t benefit US Big Oil by keeping OPEC the sole proprietor of oil production and prices. Especially since the Bush family and the Saudis are practically kissing cousins. Texas? Bush? Big Oil USA? Saudis? OPEC?

    Of course, US Big Oil wants those sanctions in place NOW…now that OPEC has refused to reduce oil production and prices to give US Big Oil bigger profits. With Iran sanctions gone, that means 2 oil sources and US Big Oil in the toilet.

    But, worse than this, that meeting between the House Republicans and Netanyahu was supposed to be a done deal for a war with Iran. What other reason could there be for inviting the Israeli warmonger to the House?

    And let’s face facts. Israel is unable to supply housing to its growing population. The proof of this is when Netanyahu bulldozed hundreds of Palestinian homes in the West Bank and took their land by eminent domain to build more homes for Israelis.

    So, war with Iran is a win win on all sides for Israel and the GOP…First, Israel gets to decimate Iran and claim more land as it did in Lebanon. Check the expanded Israeli borders if you need proof after the war in Lebanon. Second, war with Iran keeps Virginia, Texas and the rest of the military industrialist states in profit to supply weapons and military aircraft…third? Israel gets the land it needs for more housing for its ever expanding population.

    Time for Israeli women to figure out how to use birth control and stop Israeli from instigating war so they can attach more land for housing.