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No Talks With West on Regional Role

“While the US has a corrupt and seditious presence everywhere, they are constantly raising suspicion about Iran’s presence in the region. Should we seek permission from the US for [our] presence in the region?”
Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei addresses a gathering in Tehran on March 8.  Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei addresses a gathering in Tehran on March 8.

In response to western officials seeking to negotiate with Iran over its regional policies, Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said on Thursday that the country's presence in the region has nothing to do with outside powers.

"While the US has a corrupt and seditious presence everywhere, they [western officials] are constantly raising suspicion about Iran's presence in the region. Should we seek permission from the US for [our] presence in the region?" the Leader told a gathering in Tehran, his official website reported.

 He made the comments days after France's visiting foreign minister sought to raise Tehran's role in regional conflicts. Jean-Yves Le Drian flew to Tehran on Monday with a brief to reaffirm European support for a 2015 nuclear deal that opened up Iran's economy while echoing US concern about Tehran's missile program and its influence in the region.

Iran says its missile program is solely defensive in nature and is not negotiable as demanded by the United States and the Europeans.

Tehran has also denied accusations that it is playing a destabilizing role in the region, saying its policies are geared toward promoting peace and stability in the Middle East.

 

  No-Go Area

Addressing western countries critical of Iran's regional role, including the US, Ayatollah Khamenei said, "For our presence in the region, should we negotiate with regional governments or you? Whenever we seek a presence in the United States, we will talk with you."

This issue is none of your business, he said, adding that Iran will continue making the necessary arrangements with regional governments.  

US President Donald Trump has threatened to pull Washington out of Iran's nuclear agreement with world powers, forged before he took office, unless Europe helps "fix" the accord by forcing Tehran to limit its sway in the Middle East and rein in its ballistic missile program.

The French government has on several occasions criticized the program and raised the possibility of new sanctions.

 

  Islamic Dress Code

In his speech, the Leader also commented on recent protests against the country's compulsory hijab rules, noting that the enemy has been hatching a plot to attack the "independent and cultural identity" of Muslim women, which is demonstrated in their Islamic dress code.  

"They put in so much money, thought and propaganda for a few girls to be deceived and remove their headscarves here and there, and all of their efforts were summed up in this trivial and petty outcome and this is not an issue."

Ayatollah Khamenei described issues such as "gender equality" in western speeches as "superficial" and "devoid of truth" and pointed to the acknowledgement by a large number of high-ranking western women in the past few months to having been subjected to abuse and violence while carrying out their administrative duties.

"Islamic hijab is a means for women's immunity not their restriction," he said, adding, "By preserving their hijab, Iranian women declare their identity and cultural independence to the world and make this new statement that women can have an active and effective presence in social circles while safeguarding their hijab and chastity."  

The Leader said the Islamic Revolution paved the way for the success of Iranian women and gave them dignity.

"This was not the case prior to the revolution when there were a very limited number of outstanding women in cultural and scientific circles," he noted.

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