PHOTO: Tehran Friday Prayer leader Ahmad Khatami — “World of Arrogance is not trustworthy”
Iran’s Friday Prayer leaders maintained the regime’s denunciation of renewed US sanctions, casting doubt on the July 2015 nuclear agreement.
The approval by the US Congress of a 10-year extension of the 1996 Iran Sanctions Act has been the catalyst for two weeks of fierce Iranian criticism, guided by the Supreme Leader, of Washington. Tehran says that it will “retaliate” if President Obama signs the extension into law.
The Tehran Friday Prayer leader, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, warned Obama “not to be caught in the Zionists’ trap” by endorsing the measure. He said the renewed sanctions showed “the world of arrogance is not trustworthy” over implementation of the nuclear deal.
In Qazvin, Hojatoleslam Ali Ghabel echoed that the Congressional votes are “a symbol of America’s untrustworthiness and villainy….Those who still have faith in the implementation of the JCPOA [nuclear deal] to solve the country’s problems after this event are stuck in error and will regret it.”
There are no signs yet that Iran will withdraw from January’s implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. However, pressure is mounting on the Rouhani Government, for whom the deal was an achievement promising international political gains and economic recovery.
Friday’s prayers, delivered with guidance from the Supreme Leader’s office, were blunt in their challenge to the President. The Tabriz Friday Prayer leader, Ayatollah Mohsen Mojtahed Shabestari, said:
[The Iran Sanctions Act is] a lesson for Government officials and the Iranian people….The Iranian nation’s smallest expectation for the Government in the face of America’s untrustworthiness and hubris is that they do not stop at a written complaint to the UN but instead respond decisively, strongly, and cleverly.”
One cleric went as far as to distance Ayatollah Khamenei from the nuclear agreement. Qom Friday Prayer leader Ayatollah Mohammad Saeedi asserted, “It is said that the details of the negotiations were all under the watch of the Supreme Leader. That is imprecise.”
Clerics Rally Round Judiciary Head Larijani Amid Accusations of Corruption
Senior Iranian clerics have rallied around the head of judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, who has been accused of diverting judiciary funds for his personal use.
Reformist MP Mahmoud Sadeghi has led the accusations, defying arrest to claim Larjani’s financial malpractice.
Tehran Friday Prayer leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami accused Larijani’s critics of trying to “destroy” the judiciary’s authority to investigation “sedition” and a controversial over excessive salaries for some Government officials. He urged the heads of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government to “resolve their differences privately” and not allow the “political system to be weakened because of the [Presidential] elections”.
Assembly of Experts member Ayatollah Abbas Kaabi praised the judiciary for “standing up decisively… in the fight against corruption despite pressure.