(CNSNews.com) – America is the primary cause of the problems in the Middle East, and not part of the solution, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday.
“Contrary to certain people’s belief, the U.S. is the cause of the major portion of regional problems and is not part of the solution to the problems,” he told a gathering of Iranian diplomats, including Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. The speech was posted on the supreme leader’s Persian-language website, and reported in state media.
Khamenei also said there was no point in holding talks with the U.S. about regional problems, since the U.S. was interested only in getting its way.
“Americans want to impose their views rather than solve problems,” he said. “They want to impose 60 to 70 percent of their demands in talks and practically implement and impose the rest of their goals illegally. So what can such negotiations mean?”
Khamenei’s latest anti-U.S. diatribe came two days after Iran, for the first time, participated in multilateral talks aimed at finding a resolution to the Syrian civil war.
Zarif, who represented Iran in the talks in Vienna, also held a bilateral meeting there the day before with Secretary of State John Kerry.
Even though both men were in Vienna for the Syria talks, State Department spokesman John Kirby stressed the Zarif-Kerry meeting had dealt solely with the nuclear agreement reached last July, and that there was “no discussion about the conflict in Syria.”
Khamenei has prohibited negotiations with the U.S. on any subject apart from the nuclear issue.
In his speech Sunday, the ayatollah criticized what he called foreign propaganda suggesting Iran was shifting its foreign policy.
On the contrary, he said, “the Islamic Republic of Iran’s foreign policy has acted as impenetrable rock against the domineering nature of hegemonic powers, especially the U.S., in the region.”
Khamenei said Iran’s policies differ 180 degrees from America’s. Iran’s foreign policy was “based on Islam and stems from the aspirations and goals of the [Islamic] revolution,” he declared.
Khamenei also laid down his views on current developments and crises in the region:
--On Syria, he said countries gathering to decide who should rule another country were committing “a dangerous heresy that no state in the world would accept it for itself.”
The only solution to the civil war, he said, was for foreign support for anti-regime rebels to end, and the holding of elections in which the Syrian people “would freely elect whomever they like to rule their country.” It would be unacceptable for armed groups to have a role in forming a government.
--On Iraq, Khamenei said he strongly opposes any move to divide the country into Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish regions.
On “Palestine,” he repeated a call for a referendum of Palestinians to clarify the fate of Israel. The natural outcome of such a referendum, he said, would inevitably be the “dissolution of the illegitimate Zionist regime.”
--On Yemen, he called for the immediate halt of “crimes” by Saudi Arabia, a reference to the Saudi-led military campaign against Shi’ite Houthi rebels, and to dialogue among Yemenis themselves to bring stability to the country.