BEIRUT (Reuters) - Iran’s Supreme Leader called U.S. President Donald Trump’s comments on withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear agreement “silly and superficial”, said he did not trust the European countries that were sticking with the agreement, and cast doubt on the future of the deal.
The comments came on Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s official website on Wednesday, where Khamenei reiterated his distaste for the agreement.
“I said many times from the first day: don’t trust America,” Khamenei said. And he added, “I don’t trust these three countries,” Britain, France and Germany.
All three are parties to the agreement and were trying after Trump’s withdrawal to salvage the deal. But Khamenei sounded dubious about their efforts.
“If you can’t get a definite guarantee, then the nuclear deal can not be continued,” he said.
Khamenei heaped scorn on Trump, saying “You heard last night that the president of America made some silly and superficial comments.
“He had maybe more than 10 lies in his comments. He threatened the regime and the people, saying I’ll do this and that. Mr. Trump, I tell you on behalf of the Iranian people: You’ve made a mistake.
“This man will turn to dust and his body will become food for snakes and ants,” he added. “And the Islamic Republic will still be standing.”
Khamenei, the highest authority in Iran, reluctantly gave his backing for the Iran nuclear deal and has publicly criticized the U.S. multiple times for not following through on its promises under the agreement.
Raising the issue of Iran’s nuclear programme was an excuse to curb the Islamic Republic’s regional influence and missile programme, Khamenei said. Accepting negotiations on its missiles and regional influence would mean Iran had to make endless concessions, he said.
“We accepted the nuclear deal, but the enmity against the Islamic Republic did not end,” Khamenei said.
Iran needs to preserve its nuclear programme because the country will need 20,000 megawatts of electricity in the next few years, he said.
Reporting By Babak Dehghanpisheh, editing by Larry King