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

Iran’s supreme leader threatened to cancel the nuclear deal if sanctions on his country are not removed completely.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran, threatened Thursday that “there will be no deal” if world powers insist on suspending rather than completely lifting sanctions on the Islamic Republic as part of the nuclear agreement. It is up to Iran’s parliament, and not him personally, to approve or reject the deal, he added.

His remarks, read aloud by a state TV anchorman, mark the first official comment on the deal since US President Barack Obama secured enough support to prevent the Republican-led Congress from blocking it.

Khamenei has yet to express a clear opinion on the deal clinched in July, which supporters claim would curb Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for relief from crippling sanctions, although he has made several belligerent statements against the US.

Khamenei said some US officials have discussed “suspension” of sanctions, which he said was unacceptable.

“If the sanctions are going to be suspended, then we will also fulfill our obligations on the ground at the level of suspension and not in a fundamental way,” he said.

In response, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest reiterated the Obama administration’s stance that it would focus on Tehran’s actions and not its words.

Washington has been “crystal clear about the fact that Iran will have to take a variety of serious steps to significantly roll back their nuclear program before any sanction relief is offered,” he said.

Will Iran’s Parliament Reject the Deal?

Khamenei has traditionally had the final say on all important matters, but on Thursday he said lawmakers should decide on the deal.

“It is the representatives of the people who should decide. I have no advice regarding the method of review, approval or rejection,” he said.

President Hassan Rouhani is opposed to letting parliament vote on the deal, which he insists is an understanding with world powers and not a treaty. Last week he warned that if parliament votes on the deal, its provisions will be legally binding.

A special parliamentary committee has begun studying the deal, but it’s unclear how far the process will go since the government has not prepared a formal bill. It’s also uncertain how much support the deal has in parliament.

By: AP and United with Israel Staff

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