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Khamenei Lashes Out at White House, Trump Criticizes Nuclear Deal | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei delivers a speech in Tehran (AP/Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader/File)

London – Iran’s Supreme Spiritual Leader Ali Khamenei criticized U.S. President Donald Trump’s latest statements on the nuclear deal with restrained rhetoric, as analysts said that his criticism included no threat to respond militarily.

Khamenei called on Iranians to take part in demonstrations on Friday, the anniversary of Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution, to confirm that they were not afraid of American “threats.”

“We are thankful to (Trump) for making our life easy as he showed the real face of America,” he was quoted as saying.

In response to an Iranian missile test last month, Trump said: “Iran is playing with fire”.

The White House imposed new sanctions on Iranian individuals and entities, some of them linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

On Tuesday, White House Spokesman Sean Spicer said: “I think the Ayatollah is going to realize there’s a new president in office.”

He added: “This president is not going to sit by and let Iran flout its violations, or its apparent violations, to the joint agreement, but he will continue to take action as he sees fit.”

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Tehran would not renegotiate the nuclear deal that Trump consistently criticized as being a gift by former U.S. President Barack Obama to the Islamic Republic.

“I believe Trump will push for renegotiation. But Iran and European countries will not accept that,” Zarif told a local daily on Tuesday. “We will have difficult days ahead,” he added.

In one of his several recent tweets on Iran, Trump said: “Iran is playing with fire” and “they don’t appreciate how ‘kind’ President Obama was to them. Not me!”

The White House said the missile test was not a direct breach of Iran’s nuclear deal, which was forged in 2015 with six world powers, but that it “violates the spirit of that.”

Under the nuclear deal, Tehran received relief from global economic sanctions and in return committed to keeping its uranium enrichment well below the level needed for bomb-grade material, cutting the number of its centrifuge enrichment machines by two-thirds, reducing its enriched uranium stockpile and submitting to a more intrusive IAEA inspections regime.