A speech by Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei on Saturday in which he vowed to defy American “arrogant policies” in the region despite the completion of a long-sought nuclear deal, has aggravated US Secretary of State John Kerry, who found the speech "very disturbing."
"I don't know how to interpret it at this point in time, except to take it at face value, that that's his policy," he said in the interview with the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television, parts of which the network quoted on Tuesday.
"But I do know that often comments are made publicly and things can evolve that are different. If it is the policy, it's very disturbing, it's very troubling," he added.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Saturday, in an address marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, that his country will continue to oppose "arrogant" United States policies despite the completion of the long-sought nuclear deal with six world powers.
He added that Tehran will remain opposed to US policy in the Middle East.
"Whether the [nuclear] deal is approved or disapproved, we will never stop supporting our friends in the region and the people of Palestine, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Lebanon. Even after this deal our policy towards the arrogant US will not change," he said.
"The Americans say they stopped Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon," Khamenei said at the Tehran Mosala mosque. "They know it's not true. We had a fatwa [religious ruling], declaring nuclear weapons to be religiously forbidden under Islamic law. It had nothing to do with the nuclear talks."
The slogans "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" were chanted during the speech.
However, US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter has said that the option of military action to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons still exists despite the nuclear agreement sealed with the country last week.
Carter made the remark on his way to Israel, the first stop in his upcoming tour of the Middle East. Carter will later visit Saudi Arabia and Jordan to renew US security commitments in the region.
Carter’s comments were likely made in an effort to calm Israel, the main US ally in the Middle East, which is one of the harshest critics of the long-sought after agreement on the Iranian nuclear programme.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has criticised the United States and Israel for not taking the threat of military action against his country off the table following the completion of the long-sought after nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers.
Zarif said the military option is "an unwise and dangerous temptation."