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US Presidents All the Same to Iran

Ali Akbar VelayatiAli Akbar Velayati

A senior official said the Islamic Republic expects to see no change in the approach of the United States toward Iran with the comings and goings of different American presidents.

"We have witnessed Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Obama presidencies," said Ali Akbar Velayati, making passing references to presidents who took office in the US after the Islamic Revolution of 1979. "They all treated Iran the same way, and not one of them is different from the others."

Velayati, who advises the Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on international affairs, was speaking in a televised interview on Sunday, Press TV reported.

Commenting on the characteristics of the competing US presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Velayati said they were "two sides of the same coin".

"One shows the United States' true face and the other is the face of America with makeup. This gentleman [Trump] is the untouched face of America and that lady [Clinton] is the US's retouched face."

Responding to a question on whether Iran should negotiate with the US on Syria—as some people believe it should, Velayati dismissed the idea.

"Are they [the Americans] representing the Syrian people so they can dictate what they should do, so that we need to negotiate with them on who should be Syria's president?" Velayati asked, rhetorically.

"Why and based on what entitlement are the Americans saying that [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad must leave and the person that we have in mind be president?"

  Fruitless Talks

Recalling the experience of previous, fruitless Iranian talks with the US, Velayati said Iran once engaged in negotiations with the US under the auspices of the United Nations over Afghanistan.

"But as soon as the Americans invaded Afghanistan ... Bush named Iran ... part of the 'axis of evil'," he said referring to the then-US president George W. Bush.

"This is our experience of negotiations with the US under the auspices of the UN."

Turning to the issue of Iran's military advisory help to Iraq and Syria, Velayati said the presence of Iranian advisers there "vaccinated" Iran against the spillover of insecurity.

He said one reason for the Iranian presence in the two Arab countries was to prevent their disintegration, which is a plan of the US.

"Should such a thing happen, a domino effect would sweep the region," he said.

  Saudis Stuck in Quagmire

Velayati also said Saudi Arabia has been stuck in a cul-de-sac in Yemen, just as the US was bogged down in Vietnam during its war on the Asian country.

"Should the Yemenis set their minds to it, they can seize every area they desire across Saudi Arabia," he said, stressing that Yemen will emerge victorious from the war, though it has a long road ahead of it in the face of aggressors.

The senior official referred to the United States' position in the world today and said Washington no longer has a monopoly over power.

"The presence of the Islamic Republic and its allies and countries like Russia and China, as well as the European countries ... [all] show that today's world is no longer unipolar," he said. Velayati was then asked whether he still supported a deal that Iran struck with six world powers, including the US, although Washington has failed to meet some of its commitments under the agreement.

"What would we have done instead of negotiating? And we had to negotiate the right way. And if we didn't negotiate the right way, what were we supposed to do?" he asked.

"An alliance had been formed against Iran in the world by the Americans ... Thus, we had to dismantle that alliance."

Iran and the six major powers, namely Russia, China, France, Britain, the US and Germany, signed the nuclear deal last year. The deal is dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and went into effect on January 16, resolving a long-running dispute over the Iranian nuclear program.

 

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