Bloomberg | Ladane Nasseri: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei expressed defiance of the U.S. with a side order of American pop culture, invoking the cat-and-mouse adventures of Tom and Jerry.
Pompeo’s speech detailed Washington’s approach after President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the 2015 international agreement in which Iran limited its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions.
Other participants in the nuclear accord, including France, the U.K. and Germany, are trying to keep it intact. Ayatollah Khamenei said Wednesday that Iran “doesn’t have a dispute with European nations” but “doesn’t trust them” and they should provide guarantees that Iran will reap the economic benefits of abiding by the agreement.
Ayatollah Khamenei said Iran reserves the right to expand its nuclear program beyond the limits of the accord unless European banks facilitate trade and Europeans provide assurances that they will buy Iranian oil if the U.S. attempts to disrupt crude sales. He also said they must refrain from seeking negotiations over Iran’s ballistic missile program or its regional policies.
Likes Victor Hugo
Iran “can not engage” with the U.S. because “it doesn’t stand by its commitments,” Ayatollah Khamenei said. “Flexibility in the face of this enemy will turn it bolder,” while “resistance in the face of the U.S. will force it to step back.”
Ayatollah Khamenei, who’s a revered figure to his followers, describes himself as a literature fan. He has praised “Les Miserables” by the French author Victor Hugo as “the best novel ever written.”
Earlier this month he was photographed at the annual International Book Fair in Tehran visiting stands and perusing a Farsi translation of “Fire and Fury,” the American bestseller by Michael Wolff that offers a scathing portrayal of Trump’s first year in office.