TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Saturday the United States and Israel were his country’s main enemies, just days after U.S.-Iranian talks about Iraq’s security.
Iran and the United States cut diplomatic ties shortly after Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution. They held talks in Baghdad on Tuesday to find ways to restore security in Iraq, after an earlier round in May.
“The Zionist regime (Israel) and the American government are the main enemies of Iran, and hatred for America is deepening every day around the globe,” Khamenei said in a televised speech.
Khamenei has the last say in all state matters, including resumption of ties with the United States and Iran’s disputed nuclear program.
Washington accuses Shi’ite Muslim Iran of fomenting violence in Iraq. Iran denies the charge and blames the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 for the bloodshed between Iraq’s majority Shi’ite and minority Sunni Arabs.
During the two rounds of talks in Baghdad, the sides agreed to establish a trilateral committee to investigate issues such as support for militias and al Qaeda in Iraq.
Tehran and Washington are also at loggerheads over Iran’s nuclear work. The United States says Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian program. Iran denies this, saying it needs the technology to generate electricity.
Two sets of U.N. sanctions have been imposed on the Islamic state for defying repeated U.N. resolutions demanding it suspend all nuclear fuel activity. A third set is now in preparation.