Iran’s supreme leader insisted Wednesday that the nuclear deal with world powers will not open the way for direct talks with the United States on other regional issues, saying Tehran cannot risk allowing American influence to “penetrate” the country.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in statements posted on his Web site, also repeated his calls for the downfall of Israel — comments that are likely to be seized upon by U.S. opponents of the accord to limit Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for easing international sanctions.
The White House appears to have secured enough support from lawmakers to block a Republican-led resolution disapproving the deal.
But Khamenei’s latest stance reflects the limits of the landmark talks on the nearly 35-year diplomatic estrangement between the countries.
Khamenei described the nuclear pact as a “specific” deal with Washington and five other world powers. He said it does not set the stage for “talks in other areas” with the United States.
“The Iranian nation ousted the Satan,” Khamenei was quoted as saying on the Web site in a reference to the United States. “We should not let it back through the window to penetrate.”
Among the potential points of discussion between the United States and Iran is shared opposition to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Iran also has deep ties in Afghanistan, where U.S. officials seek to prop up the government in Kabul amid widening attacks by the Taliban and other militant factions.
Iran — as a key backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad — has frequently said it was willing to broker talks over Syria’s civil war. But Western-backed rebel factions have rejected any Iranian role in potential negotiations.
In his comments, Khamenei again lashed out at Israel, saying he hoped the Israeli state “won’t exist” in the next 25 years. He did not elaborate.
Khamenei has often described Israel as a “cancerous tumor” in the Middle East, but he has also insisted that Iran does not seek to destroy the Jewish state militarily.
In previous speeches, he has expressed the view that the Israeli government is destined to collapse under unspecified regional and international pressures, and he has said Iran wants to see it replaced by a Palestinian state through a “popular referendum.”