Leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said Saturday the administration of US President Joe Biden is not different from its predecessor run by Donald Trump who abandoned the Iran nuclear deal three years ago and unleashed “the toughest ever” sanctions.
"The current US administration is no different from the previous administration. Its demand is the same as Trump's demand and it has not changed at all. Behind the scenes of foreign policy, America is a predatory wolf that sometimes turns into a cunning fox. An example is the current situation in Afghanistan," Ayatollah Khamenei said in a meeting with the new Iranian government, Press TV reported.
Biden has said that rejoining the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers is one of his top foreign policy priorities, but he has been refusing to take any step to bring the US back to compliance with the accord.
After sixth rounds of negotiations between Iran and the remaining signatories of the nuclear deal in Vienna, the Biden administration has shown an unusual urge to maintain key elements of sanctions imposed by his predecessor as leverage to pressure the Islamic Republic.
"The Americans breached negotiations for a long time and did not fulfill" their obligations, Ayatollah Khamenei said in his first meeting with President Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi and his cabinet members.
Raeisi has said his government will support talks that "guarantee national interests", but will not allow negotiations for the sake of negotiations, as the Biden administration has demanded that Iran's ballistic missile program and its role in the Middle East be also included in the agreement.
‘Tragedies of Afghanistan’
Ayatollah Khamenei pointed to the current tribulations in Afghanistan, saying they are a making of the United States.
"The tragedies of Afghanistan are deeply painful. These hardships Afghans are going through, the incident on Thursday, the killings – all are the work of the United States which occupied the country for 20 years and imposed all kinds of oppression on its people."
He also touched on the future of Iran's relationship with Afghanistan, following the Taliban's takeover of the country and a "disgraceful" withdrawal of US-led forces.
"We are on the side of the Afghan nation because governments come and go as in the past, but it is the Afghan nation that remains, and the nature of Iran's relationship with governments also depends on the nature of their relationship with Iran. We ask God for goodness and salvation from this situation for the people of Afghanistan."
Advice to new government
The Leader called on the new government to use its time in office to serve the people to the best of its ability and improve their livelihoods.
"I had a recommendation to all the officials in different periods, I also offer you this recommendation; time passes quickly. These four years will end soon, so use every hour, every opportunity. Do not let time be wasted when it belongs to the people and to Islam," he said.
The new government, Ayatollah Khamenei said, should focus its efforts on initiating a "revolutionary but rational and thoughtful reconstruction in all managerial fields".
"Being revolutionary must certainly be accompanied by rationality. This has been the correct way of the Islamic Republic from the very beginning until today, requiring that the revolutionary movement should be accompanied by an intellectual and rational movement."
The Leader said the most important priority of the country is primarily the economy and then culture, media and science.
"Of course, there is an urgent issue, which is the coronavirus and the health of the people," he added.
One of the essentials, Ayatollah Khamenei said, is smart quarantine and serious care at borders in order to prevent the entry of new strains of the disease.
Restoring public trust
The Leader said it is very important to restore the people's trust and hope, because people's trust is the biggest asset of the government.
"People will help you and walk the walk with you when they trust you and have hope in you. This is the biggest asset for a government if it can gain the trust of the people, which, of course, is unfortunately a bit damaged. You have to repair this, and the solution is for the words and actions of the officials to be the same."
As for the economy, the main problems of the country are high inflation, budget deficit, people's livelihood issues, devaluation of the national currency, reduction of people's purchasing power, and issues related to business and banking system, Ayatollah Khamenei said.
"Economic experts believe that money creation should be done in proportion to production, and if this ratio does not exist, money creation should be stopped, which, if done correctly, will result in preventing inflation, boosting production and employment, and strengthening the power of the national currency."
President Raeisi has said he has chosen a cabinet to improve Iran's economy and fight corruption. One of his key slogans on the campaign stump was to form a "popular government".
Marking his first provincial trip two days after the formation of his cabinet, he paid an unannounced visit to Iran's key province of Khuzestan on Friday as his new government is getting down to brass tacks to improve people's livelihoods.
"One of the manifestations of being popular is going among the people and hearing directly from the people. This very good and commendable move that Mr. Raeisi made yesterday, when he went to Khuzestan among the people, heard from them, talked to them, is a manifestation of being popular, which is a very good thing," Ayatollah Khamenei said.
Another manifestation, he said, is the lifestyle which state officials choose, enjoining the new government to practice "modesty in manners and character and avoid aristocratic styles and looking down at people from a high position".
Ayatollah Khamenei also said the basis of the Islamic government and the Islamic Republic is the establishment of justice, but a lot of work has to be done in this regard.
"We have a lot of work to do in these areas. We are lagging behind and have to work hard," the Leader said.
"In my opinion, every resolution that you pass, every bill that you draft in the government, every directive that you issue in your own system, should have an appendix of justice. You have to be careful that it does not impact justice and does not stamp on the deprived classes," he added.
Last month, when protests hit Khuzestan over water shortages, Ayatollah Khamenei said the protesters cannot be blamed because the water problem is “not a trivial issue”.