In a speech marking the end of Ramadan - the month of fasting for Muslims - Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the country would not bow down to the US amid a deal on the Iranian nuclear program.
Khamenei said that Iran was still at odds with US policy in the Middle East, adding that the agreement would not alter the country's support for the Syrian and Iraqi governments nor the Palestinians and "oppressed people" in Bahrain and Yemen, where Tehran is accused of backing Houthi rebels.
"We have repeatedly said we don't negotiate with the US on regional or international affairs; not even on bilateral issues," the supreme leader said.
"There are some exceptions like the nuclear program that we negotiatated with the Americans to serve our interests…[But] US policies in the region are diametrically opposed with Iran's policies," Khamenei said.
Khamenei's statement comes in the wake of a historic nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 - China, France, Russia, UK and US, plus Germany - announced on Tuesday. The deal is expected to gradually pullback sanctions in exchange for long-term curbs to the country's nuclear program, which Western countries believed Iran was using to develop a weapon.
"The Americans said they stopped Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon," Khamenei said Saturday at the Mosala mosque in Tehran.
"They know it's not true. We had a fatwa [religious ruling], declaring nuclear weapons to be religiously forbidden under Islamic law. It had nothing to do with the nuclear talks," Khamenei noted.
In a letter to Iran's President Hassan Rouhani following the deal, the ayatollah said the text of the agreement "needs careful scrutiny and must be directed into the defined legal process."
Khamenei came into power in 1989 following the death of Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei, the revolutionary founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
ls/jlw (Reuters, AP, AFP)