In an interview with the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television network, Secretary of State John Kerry said that a July 18 speech by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei was "very disturbing." Khameini said that despite the recent accord reached with the U.S. and allies over the Islamic Republic's atomic program, his country would continue to "defy" the United States.
"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," said Kerry in the interview. "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. Parts of the interview were aired on July 21.
Khamenei said over the weekend that American policy in the region is "180 degrees" opposed to Iran's. His speech at mosque in Tehran was peppered with shouts of "Death to America" and "Death to Israel." The Iranian leader cried "Even after this deal our policy toward the arrogant U.S. will not change."
Despite perennial accusations by Arab states of the Persian Gulf that Iran has provided financial aid and arms to political movements (especially fellow Shiite Moslems), Kerry said he is confident that Arab allies of the United States are able counteract Iran's interference in the region. "I think President Obama's belief and our military assessments, our intelligence assessments, are that if they organize themselves correctly, all of the Arab states have an untapped potential that is very, very significant to be able to push back against any of these activities," he said.
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