Report: Senior Iranian Cleric Warns President-Elect Trump ‘Not to Play Around’ With Tehran; Says Democrats, Republicans Both in ‘Service of Zionists’
A senior Iranian cleric warned US President-elect Donald Trump during prayers on Friday “not [to] play around with Iran,” and vowed that the Islamic Republic would “resist until our last breath” if any actions not to the regime’s approval are undertaken, the country’s semi-official news agency Fars reported.
Addressing a congregation on the campus of Tehran University, Ayatollah Seyed Ahmad Khatami – a member of the Assembly of Experts, which appoints and dismisses the country’s supreme leader (currently Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) – said Trump should “be careful not [to] give the lion’s tail [Iran] another twist,” or suffer the consequences.
Though Khatami did not specify either what form this “resistance” would take or the nature of the repercussions to which he alluded, he was clear about his opinion of the American political system.
“The [Democrats and Republicans] are the same,” he said. “Both of them are at the service of the Zionists.”
Nevertheless, Khatami softened his rhetoric to express “hope that the new US president will fulfill his recent statements that he does not want tensions with any other country, and if not, at least come to know the Iranian nation and avoid doing anything wrong.”
This comment followed a series of anti-American statements emanating from the powers-that-be in Tehran, accompanied by ballistic-missile testing and boasts of military prowess. It also came on the heels of reports on Wednesday, following Trump’s electoral victory, by the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran has once again exceeded a limit — spelled out in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, otherwise known as the Iran nuclear deal — on sensitive material used in nuclear reactors. It was the second time Tehran surpassed its threshold since the deal was implemented in January, after being reached in July 2015.
Khatami then proceeded to laud Iran’s “impartiality” during the presidential campaign, and to claim, “We do not interfere in other countries’ internal affairs. We respect people of the world and their choices. This has been our policy during the past 37 years.”
According to Fars, Khatami’s statements echoed those of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif – Tehran’s chief partner to negotiations with world powers, which led to the nuclear deal – during a press conference in Bucharest, following a meeting with his Romanian counterpart, Lazăr Comănescu.
Asked about Trump’s victory, Zarif said, “We don’t interfere in other countries’ internal affairs. It is the US people’s choice. But anyone who becomes the US president, he/she should gather a correct understanding of the realities of the world and our region, and face them with realism and pragmatism.”
Zarif explained that despite tensions with Iran, “The US should implement what it has taken up as a multilateral international undertaking under the nuclear deal.”
As The Algmeiner reported on the eve of last Tuesday’s presidential election, the assertion that the Arab and Muslim world had no stake in its outcome — with a Palestinian Authority spokesman calling it a contest between “stupid and evil” — was widespread.