Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran won’t engage the U.S. in any issue beyond the nuclear program and renewed his attacks on Israel, saying the “Zionist regime” won’t exist in 25 years.
“We only agreed, for specific reasons, to negotiations with the U.S. on the nuclear matter,” Khamenei told a gathering of Iranian citizens, according to his website. “We have not allowed talks in other areas and we won’t negotiate with them.”
While a reiteration of earlier comments, the timing of Khamenei’s remarks creates an opportunity for critics of the country’s July nuclear accord in the U.S. and Israel to question any attempts to mend ties with Iran. The speech may also temper speculation that the Islamic Republic may seek to change its policy in the Middle East.
Iran, the U.S. and Sunni-ruled nations such as Saudi Arabia are on opposite ends of some of the region’s bloodiest conflicts. The Islamic Republic supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Lebanon’s Hezbollah militants. Iranian officials also criticize what they consider unwavering U.S. backing of Israel and its military interventions in neighboring Iraq.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will discuss Iran with the U.K.’s David Cameron in London. While President Hassan Rouhani has largely avoided the anti-Israel rhetoric that was a trademark of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Islamic Republic doesn’t recognize the Jewish state and officials routinely condemn its treatment of the Palestinians.
Commenting on Israel, Khamenei said that “after the nuclear agreement they said in the Zionist regime that they are relieved of any concerns for the next 25 years.”
“God willing in the next 25 years such a thing as the Zionist regime won’t exist,” he said.
The nuclear accord between Iran and the U.S, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the U.K. requires the Persian Gulf nation to curtail its nuclear program in return for the lifting of economic sanctions.