Ukraine Crisis Shows U.S. 'Cannot Be Trusted,' Iran's Leader Says Amid Nuclear Talks

'The United States is a regime that lives on crises,' Khamenei argues as Iran and world powers inch closer to a nuclear deal in Vienna negotiations

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Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaking during a live TV speech in Tehran, on Tuesday.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaking during a live TV speech in Tehran, on Tuesday.Credit: KHAMENEI.IR / AFP

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday that the war in Ukraine should be stopped and accused the United States, which he called a “mafia-like regime”, of creating the crisis.

>> Russia invades Ukraine: Follow Haaretz's live coverage

Khamenei blasted Washington and other Western nations as talks in Vienna between Iran and world powers on reviving a 2015 nuclear deal have reached a critical stage.

Khamenei's Twitter Credit: Khamenei's Twitter

"The United States is a regime that lives on crises ..., in my view, Ukraine is a victim of the crises concocted by the U.S," Khamenei said in a televised speech on the occasion of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Mab'ath.

"There are two lessons to be learned here. States which depend on the support of the U.S. and Western powers need to know they cannot trust such countries. It is people that matter; if Ukrainians supported their government, the situation would have been different from the current crisis."

Khamenei also said that homosexuality was part of the "moral deprivation" widespread in the West. "Some have rightly called Western civilization a new age of ignorance," he argued.

Iran said on Monday nuclear talks could succeed if the United States took a political decision to meet Tehran's remaining demands, as months of negotiations enter what one Iranian diplomat called a “now or never” stage.

All parties involved in the talks say progress has been made toward the restoration of the pact to curb Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, which the United States abandoned in 2018. But both Tehran and Washington have said there are still some significant differences to overcome.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett reiterated on Tuesday that Israel "isn't bound by the Iran deal," pointing to "the date in two and a half years when Iran will be allowed to assemble countless centrifuges."

Bennett is apparently referring caps on Iran's nuclear program in the 2015 deal, which are indeed set to expire in 2025, but it remains unclear whether the new agreement being formulated in Vienna sticks to the same timeframe.

Speaking to employees of Israel's Mossad spy agency, Bennett said: "It's time to act and change the situation. As far as I'm concerned, you and the IDF – the mission is on you."

The stakes in the negotiations are high, since the failure of 10 months of talks could carry the risk of a fresh regional war, of more harsh sanctions on Iran by the West and of continued upward pressure on world oil prices already strained by the Ukraine conflict.

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman identified the remaining issues as: the extent to which sanctions would be rolled back, providing guarantees that the United States will not quit the pact again and resolving questions over uranium traces found at several old but undeclared sites in Iran.

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