Khamenei: French Kneeling before Israel

Withdrawing before enemies is forbidden in Islam, says Iran's leader, in pugnacious rant.

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Gil Ronen,

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei

The "Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution of Iran," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had angry words Wednesday for France, which has been the toeing the toughest line against Iran in the P5+1 powers' talks with Tehran over its nuclear weapons program. French officials were "not only succumbing to the United States, but they are kneeling before the Israeli regime," he accused.

Britain responded to the speech by saying that whatever comments were made, remaining differences were narrow and a historic deal within reach. France, however, said that such “unacceptable” attacks “complicated” the talks.

Addressing a gathering of 50,000 commanders from the Basij militia, Khamenei said he insists on “stabilizing Iranians' rights, including their nuclear rights,” adding that “We do not interfere in the details of the talks but there are red lines that they are obliged to respect,” he said, in reference to the negotiations with the P5+1 powers in Geneva, which are being resumed.

“Wherever people are to confront their enemies they have to overcome the will of the foes,” he said. Noting that “withdrawing before enemies” is forbidden in Islam, the “Supreme Leader” explained that “heroic flexibility” means carrying out “smart maneuvers” before the enemies reach their objectives.

Khamenei blamed “weaknesses in our economic decision making” for making Iran's enemies “feel that they could penetrate.”

“Sanctions and other similar acts give us a chance to find out the weaknesses and remove them,” he said.

Iranians respect all nations of the world, he added. “However, we will give a crushing response to those who act against us.”

It was reported earlier that Khamenei told the Basij commanders that "the Zionist regime (Israel) is a regime whose pillars are extremely shaky and is doomed to collapse."

He also called Israel "the rabid dog of the region" and claimed Israel poses a threat to the world, not Iran. The Basij crowd responded with cries of "Death to Israel" and "Death to America."

Khamenei had insults for Israeli officials as well. "The title of human is not worthy of the leaders of the Zionist regime," he said, adding that the Iranian response to a military action would be "a slap in the face they will never forget."