Ahmad Khatami
Ahmad KhatamiReuters

Senior Iranian religious leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said on Friday that the “culture of resistance” does not contradict with conducting negotiations, the IRNA news agency reported.

Addressing worshipers at weekly Friday prayers, Khatami said political negotiations, if carried out while maintaining dignity, are part of the resistance culture.

He also said, according to the report, that the Iranian nation owed its 35 years of dignity to its resistance against foreign powers and the slogan “Down with America.”

He reiterated that resistance could help the Iranian nuclear negotiators to get “the upper hand” in their talks with the West, according to IRNA.

Khatami called on Iranian diplomats to stand against Western pressures, saying that when U.S. officials try to undermine Iranian national honor through making “unwise remarks,” their words have to be reciprocated by the Iranian diplomats based on the culture of resistance.

An interim nuclear deal, in which Tehran committed to limit its uranium enrichment to five percent and the West in return agreed to lift some sanctions, went into effect last week. That, however, has not stopped Iran’s leadership from continuing its rhetoric against the West.

Last week, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry  said the military option was still on the table if Iran fails to live up to its part of the agreement that was signed with it in Geneva.

In response, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, suggested that the Americans “exercise self-restraint.”

“Our top officials should pay attention to what [the West] is saying, because they smile and say that they are interested in negotiations, but at the same time, they say that all options are on the table,” said Khamenei, referring to Kerry’s statements.

“Well, what exactly are these options? What kind of action – or mistake – could they possibly take against Iran? If they are serious, they should exercise some self-restraint. All those people who utter this kind of nonsense must be stopped,” he added.

This week, in his State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama said that U.S. and international pressure had led to the interim deal struck in November.

"American diplomacy, backed by pressure, has halted the progress of Iran’s nuclear program and rolled parts of that program back," Obama said.

"The sanctions that we put in place helped make this opportunity possible," he added.

These comments irked Iran as well, and it accused Obama of “falsifying history.”

Khatami has said in the past that Iran is already a nuclear state and that Americans have not realized that.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)