Tough talk from Iran
Outspoken Ayatollah tells US to take warships out of Arabian Gulf despite ongoing war on terror
Iran’s Supreme Leader has criticised the presence of US warships in the Arabian Gulf, saying American forces should return to the Bay of Pigs.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivered his inflammatory speech to a group of teachers yesterday, claiming US military drills in the region were proof of arrogance.
His rhetoric was clearly designed to stir up anti-US sentiment at a time when tensions between the sides have thawed following the signing of a historic nuclear deal in which Iran agreed to curb its enrichment programme in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.
“They sit together, scheme and say that Iran must not hold war games in the Gulf,” Khamenei said.
“What a foolish remark! They come here from the other side of the globe and stage war games. What are you doing here? Go back to the Bay of Pigs. Go and hold exercises there. What are you doing in the Gulf? The Gulf is our home.”
His remarks were an apparent reference to the 1961 failed invasion of Cuba.
The US 5th Fleet, which is based in Bahrain, is responsible for conducting maritime security operations and support missions as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, the official name used by the US to describe the global war on terrorism.
The Ayatollah’s outspoken remarks come just days after the speaker of the UAE’s Federal National Council called on the European Parliament (EP) to back the UAE in a dispute over the Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa islands in the Arabian Gulf. The islands are controlled by Iran. Dr Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi asked Martin Schulz, President of the EP, to adopt a “clear position regarding Iran’s occupation”, UAE news agency WAM reported this week.
WAM reported that the speaker “also stressed the importance of requesting Iran to stop interfering in the Arabian Gulf and the Middle East”.
Al Qubaisi made these comments during a visit to Brussels, where she met with a number of European Union officials. Khamenei also urged Iran’s education officials to add other languages to their foreign language programmes, saying limiting the curricula to English was a mistake. "The language of science is not English alone. Insisting on promotion of English alone is unhealthy," said Khamenei. "Other languages like Spanish, French, German and Eastern languages are the languages of science, too." Khamenei also reiterated his criticism about the spending habits of Iran's wealthy upper class, saying the government needed to regulate consumption patterns. Critics have drawn attention to the wave of new luxury cars present in Tehran and other major cities. "I have many times warned but the consumption patterns have not been amended. The nouveau-riche kids with those cars in the streets are there for this reason,” he said. Despite last summer's landmark deal between Iran and the world powers, he has remained publicly suspicious of Western intentions toward Iran.
SUSPICIOUS: Ayatollah Khamenei