Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Monday accused the United States and Israel of playing "good cop, bad cop" to intimidate his country into making concessions on the nuclear dispute with the West.
"They make it seem like Israel wants to attack, but America is stopping it: the good cop, bad cop trick," Khamenei was quoted by Reuters as having told senior statesmen at a fast-breaking supper during Ramadan.
"But I say out-loud: the reason they are not attacking is because it is too costly. The enemy has no other option at its disposal but make threats and impose sanctions," he stated.
In a boost to President Hassan Rouhani, who has been accused of being too soft toward the West, Khamenei said, "All should know that I support his government and use everything in my power to help it. I have trust in our negotiating team and am sure they will not give in on the rights of this nation."
The comments come as Iran and Western powers continue talks aimed at turning an interim deal reached in November into a permanent agreement. The deadline to reach this agreement is July 20.
Western diplomats said last week that while Iran has reduced demands for the size of its future nuclear enrichment program, it would not be easy to clinch a deal by the July 20 deadline.
Iran has previously insisted that it will never give up on what it sees as its right to uranium enrichment.
Israel has repeatedly warned against a bad deal with Iran and expressed its dissatisfaction with the interim deal.
Intelligence and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said last week that Israel does not expect world powers to reach a nuclear agreement with Iran by the July 20 deadline.