Iran’s Supreme Leader Just Dealt a Huge Blow to Obama’s Hopes for Diplomacy Post-Nuclear Deal

The supreme leader of Iran announced Saturday that the nuclear proliferation deal he agreed to earlier this week will not have an effect on the nation’s policy toward the United States.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a televised speech that America’s policy in the Middle East is still counter-intuitive to Tehran’s strategy, and that Iran will continue to support its Muslim allies in the area, as well as the Syrian government.

He said:

“Our policy regarding the arrogant U.S. government will not change. We don’t have any negotiations or deal with the U.S. on different issues in the world or the region.”

Khamenei, while addressing the nation as part of a feast day celebrating the end of Ramadan, implied that the deal was a win for Iran, but stopped short of fully embracing it. The WSJ notes that as the supreme leader, he has final say over the Iranian government, and could still choose to back out of the deal at any moment.

A public poll conducted last month found that a majority of Iranians approved of their government leaders pursuing a deal limiting the country’s nuclear program in exchange for reduced sanctions.

The deal, which came after nearly two years of negotiations between Iran and the United States, China, Russia, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, curbs the nation’s nuclear program while easing some of the sanctions currently in place against the Islamic nation.

Even with the terms of the deal in place, the U.S. and Iran still have obstacles to clear before it becomes official. Iran’s parliament and the Supreme National Security Council must sign off on the deal, and Khamenei still has to give it his blessing.

In the United States, Congress must approve the deal within 60 days. Both House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) quickly voiced their opposition to the deal, and suggested that President Obama will have a difficult time convincing enough lawmakers to sign off on the deal.

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