“The current US administration is no different from the previous administration. Its demand is the same as Trump’s demand and it has not changed at all. Behind the scenes of foreign policy, smile and self-righteous talk, America is a predatory wolf that sometimes turns into a cunning fox,” the Leader said Saturday in a meeting with the new Iranian administration.
US President Joe Biden has said that rejoining the nuclear agreement is one of his top foreign policy priorities, but he has been refusing to take any step to bring Washington back to compliance with the accord.
After six rounds of negotiations between Iran and the remaining signatories of the nuclear deal in Vienna, the Biden administration has shown an unusual urge to maintain the key elements of sanctions imposed by his predecessor as leverage to pressure the Islamic Republic.
“The Americans breached negotiations for a long time and did not fulfill” their obligations, Ayatollah Khamenei said, adding the role of the European countries in sabotaging the efforts is no less than the Americans.
The Leader made the remarks in a meeting with President Ebrahim Raeisi and his newly-formed cabinet.
Raeisi has said his government will support talks that “guarantee national interests”, but will not allow negotiations for the sake of negotiations, with the Biden administration demanding that Iran’s ballistic missile program and its role in the Middle East be also included in the deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“In the nuclear issue, the Americans have exceeded all limits of shame, and even though they left the JCPOA before everyone’s eyes, they are talking in a demanding tone as if the Islamic Republic had abandoned the JCPOA and its obligations, while long after the American withdrawal, nothing was done by Iran, and some of the obligations – and not all of them – were set aside with prior notice and declaration,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
Ayatollah Khamenei touched on the current tribulations in Afghanistan, saying they are a making of the United States.
“The tragedies of Afghanistan are deeply painful. These hardships Afghans are going through, the incident on Thursday, the killings – all are the work of the United States which occupied the country for 20 years and imposed all kinds of oppression on its people.”
The Leader also touched on the future of Iran’s relationship with Afghanistan, following the Taliban’s takeover of the country and a “disgraceful” withdrawal of US-led forces.
“We are on the side of the Afghan nation because governments come and go as in the past, but it is the Afghan nation that remains, and the nature of Iran’s relationship with governments also depends on the nature of their relationship with Iran. We ask God for goodness and salvation from this situation for the people of Afghanistan.”
Recommendations to new government
In his speech, the Leader also called on the new administration to use its time in office to serve the people to the best of its ability.
“I had a recommendation to all the officials in different periods, I also offer you this recommendation; time passes quickly. These four years will end soon, so use every hour, every opportunity. Do not let time be wasted when it belongs to the people and to Islam,” he said.
The new administration, Ayatollah Khamenei said, should focus its efforts on initiating a “revolutionary but rational and thoughtful reconstruction in all managerial fields”.
“Being revolutionary must certainly be accompanied by rationality. This has been the correct way of the Islamic Republic from the very beginning until today, where the revolutionary movement should be accompanied by an intellectual and rational movement.”
The Leader said the most important priority of the country is primarily the economy and then culture, media and science.
“Of course, there is an urgent issue, which is the coronavirus and the health of the people,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
One of the essentials, the Leader added, is smart quarantine and serious care at borders in order to prevent the entry of new strains of the disease.
As for the economy, the main problems of the country are high inflation, budget deficit, people’s livelihood issues, devaluation of the national currency, reduction of people’s purchasing power, and issues related to business climate and banking system, he said.
“Economic experts believe that money creation should be done in proportion to production, and if this ratio does not exist, money creation should be stopped, which, if done correctly, will result in preventing inflation, boosting production and employment, and strengthening the national currency.”
President Raeisi has said he has chosen a cabinet to improve Iran’s economy and fight corruption. One of his key slogans on the campaign stump was to form a “popular government”.
Marking his first provincial trip two days after the formation of his cabinet, he paid an unannounced visit to Iran’s key province of Khuzestan on Friday.
“One of the manifestations of being popular is going among the people and hearing directly from the people. This very good and commendable move that Mr. Raeisi made yesterday, when he went to Khuzestan among the people, heard from them, talked to them, is a manifestation of being popular, which is a very good thing,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
Another manifestation, the Leader said, is the lifestyle which state officials choose, enjoining the new administration to practice “modesty in manner and character and avoid aristocratic styles and looking down at people from a high position”.
Ayatollah Khamenei also said the basis of the Islamic government and the Islamic Republic is the establishment of justice, but a lot of work has to be done in this regard.
“We have a lot of work to do in these areas. We are lagging and have to work hard,” he said.
“In my opinion, every resolution that you pass, every bill that you draft in the government, every directive that you issue in your own system, should have an appendix of justice. You have to be careful that it does not impact justice and does not stamp on the oppressed classes,” the Leader added.
Last month, when protests hit Khuzestan over water shortages, Ayatollah Khamenei said the protesters could not be blamed because the water problem was “not a trivial issue”.
On Saturday, the Leader said it is very important to restore the people’s trust and hope, because people’s trust is the biggest asset of the government.
“People will help you and walk the walk with you when they trust you and have hope in you. This is the biggest asset for a government if it can gain the trust of the people, which, of course, is unfortunately a bit damaged. You have to repair it, and the solution is for the words and actions of the officials to be the same.”