Khomenei: U.S. provoking Gulf nations to confront Iran

Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomenei accused the United States on Monday of provoking some Arab countries into a confrontation with Iran.

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His comments to Tehran workers and entrepreneurs came a day after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in Riyadh, urged unity among Persian Gulf countries in confronting Iran. In a news conference before he left for Jordan, Pompeo expressed his concern over Iranian influence in the region, notably in the Syrian civil war. He added that he wants to see the conflict reduced through negotiations brokered by the United Nations. Pompeo’s trip has included visits to Israel and Saudi Arabia thus far.

Khomenei accused the United States with deception in his address.

“The Americans are trying to provoke the Saudis and certain countries in the region and pit them against the Islamic Republic, but if they have wisdom, they should not be deceived by the United States,” he said. “The Americans do not want to suffer the cost of confronting the Islamic Republic and the powerful nation of Iran themselves; they want to make some states in the region shoulder it. Some countries in the region should know that if they face the Islamic Republic of Iran, they will definitely be hit and defeated.”

He added that the presence of U.S. troops in the region is a source of insecurity and violence.

“For this reason, the Americans’ feet must be cut off from this region and they must leave West Asia,” he said. “The U.S. incites the Saudis in order to create a conflict in our region. Why don’t they incite the Zionists? Because they want Muslims to fight against Muslims.”

In a phone call to French President Emmanuel Macron, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday accused the administration of trying to sabotage the nuclear deal. In a prior call, Rouhani and Macron agreed to work to preserve the deal. .

Trump’s negative comments about the pact have created “fear and ambiguity” for countries and business dealing with Iran, Rouhani said.

Trump has set a May 12 deadline for the United States and European allies to address any proposed changes to the agreement, although Rouhani has insisted that the deal is not negotiable. May 12 is also the date by which Trump must choose whether to recertify the deal.

By Ed Adamczyk