Khamenei: US, Israel Real Threats to Middle East

Iran's Supreme Leader accuses US of creating 'myth' of Iranian nuclear weapons in order to claim 'Islamic Republic is a source of threat.'

Cynthia Blank,

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

The United States created the "myth" of Iranian nuclear weapons in a wily maneuver to turn the country into a "threat," Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei alleged on Sunday.

Speaking to several hundred military commanders during a televised address, Khamenei once again displayed his deep mistrust of the US - just as nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 world powers are set to resume. 

"They created the myth of nuclear weapons so they could say the Islamic Republic is a source of threat. No, the source of threat is America itself, with its unrestrained, destabilizing interventions," Khamenei charged. 

Khamenei also attacked Israel, accusing the "Zionist regime, that is chained like a dog to the American regime," of being the real source of instability in the region. 

"The other side is methodically and shamelessly threatening us militarily ... even if they did not make these overt threats, we would have to be prepared," he added.

A framwork agreement on Iran's nuclear program was reached between the Islamic Republic and world powers earlier this month. Negotiations to achieve a final accord by the June 30 deadline are expected to resume in Vienna this week. 

While that temporary agreement has been reached, divisions remain. One major issue is how quickly international sanctions will be lifted once a final accord is determined. 

Earlier this month, Iran insisted that all sanctions be lifted immediately for any agreement to go into effect. The US State Department was quick to dismiss this demand. 

Israel, meanwhile, has been consistently critical of the diplomatic deal with Iran, berating the West once again on Sunday for ignoring Iran's aggression in the Middle East. 

Speaking before the start of his weekly Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu accused Iran of "ramping up its aggressiveness in the region and all around Israel's borders."

"Israel also sees with great severity the fact that there is no mention of this aggressiveness in the nuclear deal being formed between the powers and Iran," he added.

"There is no conditioning of the deal upon an end to this aggressiveness, either at the start of the deal or as a condition forremoving sanctions.”