Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami
Ayatollah Ahmad KhatamiReuters

Nuclear agreement or not, Iran still considers the United States to be “the Great Satan”, a senior cleric declared on Friday.

Speaking in Tehran and quoted by the Tasnim news agency, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami warned against the American administration's “endless hostility” towards the Islamic Republic, saying that the nuclear deal with world powers should not lead to Iranian optimism about “the enemy”.

Khatami also slammed the United States for its new sanctions against Iran, this time over its ballistic missile program. The sanctions were announced following the implementation of the nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

“If we think that the U.S. has done us a favor by the (nuclear) agreement, it would be like we are prettifying the enemy,” he said, according to Tasnim.

“While signing the JCPOA, (President Barack) Obama signed new sanctions against Iran,” added Khatami.

“This means that the U.S. is the same Great Satan that it was over thirty years ago,” he then declared.

The new sanctions target 11 companies and individuals associated with Iran’s baliistic missile program, and came following Iran’s testing of an Emad missile in October 2015 in a direct violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

Iranian officials have stressed that the Islamic Republic would unveil new domestically-designed and manufactured missiles in the near future in defiance of the new American sanctions.

Khatami’s comments are the latest reflection of the rhetoric used by Iranian leaders against the United States, even after the signing of the nuclear deal.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei recently reiterated his warnings against what he termed U.S. "deceit," underlining how the regime in Tehran still remains decidedly hostile towards America.

In October, Khamenei banned any further negotiations between Iran and the United States following the nuclear deal reached last summer.

A month later he ordered the Iranian government to implement a blockade of U.S. imports as part of an outline for creating an "economy of resistance."

And in December, he warned of the United States’ alleged intentions to “destroy Islamic civilization”.