U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says he will take Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s remark about “staying at war” with the United States at face value. Khamenei earlier made a statement that he would still support proxies against U.S. forces.
Khamenei said Friday that Iran’s policy against the United States had not changed at all despite the nuclear deal. He said the Islamic republic would have no negotiations on bilateral issues and on various other regional as well as global issues.
Politico reported that the podium where Khamenei spoke had a message written in the Persian language: “We will trample upon America.” It also had an English message saying: “We Defeat the United States.”
Kerry said that, despite the nuclear agreement, Iran still posed a threat in the Middle East with conventional weapons. But he added that U.S. military and intelligence assessments suggest that the Arab states, if organized effectively, will be able to counter it.
Speaking to Al Arabiya News Channel’s Nadia Bilbassy-Charters, Kerry said it was “disturbing” and “troubling” if the ayatollah's diatribe indeed reflected Iran’s policy. “But I do know that often comments are made publicly and things can evolve that are different,” Kerry said. “We are not kidding when we talk about the importance of pushing back against extremism, against support for terrorism and proxies who are destabilizing other countries.”
Bilbassy-Charters asked Kerry if he trusted Iranian President Hasan Rouhani on implementing the agreement. Kerry replied that the agreement was not based on trust. The agreement was based on specific timetables and specific steps for implementation, he said.
The U.S. secretary of state added that the agreement would be measured by its implementation. He said the U.S. Congress would have 60 days to review the agreement. It is not possible to start the process of implementation until that process is over, he said.