Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that US “enmities” towards Iran will not cease with the imminent departure from office of President Donald Trump, reports Al Monitor.
President-elect Joe Biden, who defeated Trump in November, has shown a willingness to return to diplomacy with Iran, but Khamenei has on previous occasions cautioned against Iranians hoping for improving relations with the West.
Tensions between Tehran and Washington soared during Trump’s presidency, worsening after 2018, when he pulled Washington out of a landmark nuclear deal and reimposed punishing unilateral sanctions.
Khamenei’s remarks came shortly after President Hassan Rouhani said that Iran was “very happy” that Trump was leaving the White House.
Rouhani’s government has repeatedly expressed its openness to the incoming US administration and called on Washington to return to the nuclear deal and lift sanctions.
But Khamenei reiterated his position that Iran should continue to “nullify” sanctions imposed by the Trump administration. He continues to say he is not optimistic of significant policy changes coming out of Biden’s White House.
“You witnessed what Trump’s America and Obama’s America did to you,” he said on his official website.
During a meeting with the family of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a January US air strike in neighbouring Iraq, Khamenei proclaimed, “Enmities are not limited to Trump’s America and will not end just because he has left office.”
His meeting with the slain general’s family was his first public engagement since officials close to his office moved to quash rumours about his health last week.
“Do not trust the enemy, this is my explicit advice,” the supreme leader said.
However, he then added, “If sanctions can be lifted, we should not delay it for even an hour.”