Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP) (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s top leader, ruled out any formal cooperation with America against the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group, their common adversary in Iraq and Syria, insisting that it would be a big mistake to trust the US and that it remains a prime enemy of Tehran, despite the controversial nuclear deal.

Trusting the US would be “a big mistake,” said Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, insisting that cooperation with America goes “against the independence” of Iran.

He stressed that that anyone “working for Islam,” if they trust the US, “will be slapped in the face.”

There has been no formal talk of a joint fight or even cooperation between Iran and the United States against the Islamic State group. Nevertheless, Khamenei’s remarks were somewhat ironic since the war against the Islamic State has put Americans and Iranians in close proximity.

In Iraq, Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) are on the ground, helping Shiite militiamen and Iraqi forces in their offensive on Fallujah, an ISIS stronghold west of Baghdad. A US-led airstrike campaign is also backing that battle.

But Khamenei said that despite the nuclear deal, which went into effect this year, Iran has “many small and big enemies, but foremost among them are America and this very evil Britain.”

He spoke at a ceremony marking the 27th anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the 1979 Islamic Revolution that brought hard-line clerics to power and ousted the US-backed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

Tens of thousands of Iranians attended the ceremony in Tehran while state TV broadcast Khamenei’s 90-minute speech live.

The deal with world powers eased Tehran’s isolation from the international community and removed many economic sanctions in exchange for Iran curtailing its nuclear program.

But the agreement, struck in 2015 with President Hassan Rouhani’s administration, has been assailed by Iranian hard-liners, and in the months since its implementation, Iran has conducted missile tests criticized by the US, as well as aired footage on state television of an underground missile base.

In Syria, Shiite power Iran is a top backer of President Bashar Assad, along with Russia. Tehran has deployed what it says are military advisers to support the Syrian government and has had casualties in the conflict, though it denies the presence of Iranian combat troops.

Meanwhile, the US and its Western allies, along with most Gulf Arab nations, back the Syrian rebels fighting to topple Assad.

By: AP and United with Israel Staff

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