Ayatollah Ali Khamenei - Iran Politics Today

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For years, Iran’s supreme leader only criticized the West over Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers. Now, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is publicly chastising the country’s elected president and his foreign minister as the accord unravels amid heightened tensions with the U.S. By naming President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as failing to implement his orders over the deal, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is signaling a hard-line tilt in how the Islamic Republic will react going forward. That will include how Iran handles the ongoing maximalist pressure campaign of President Donald Trump, who has piled on new sanctions and dispatched an aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers to the region over still-unspecified threats the White House perceives to be coming from Tehran. Now U.S. officials say the Pentagon will present a plan to the White House on Thursday calling for sending as many as an additional 10,000 troops to the Middle East over Iran. And while not calling for Rouhani and Zarif’s replacement, his words limit the already-waning influence of their relatively moderate administration as they have only two years left in their term. “For now, Tehran is likely focused on building up leverage against the U.S. — in the nuclear realm and regionally — before it would agree to even limited talks,” wrote Henry Rome, an analyst at the Eurasia Group. Khamenei, 80, is only the second supreme leader Iran has known since its 1979 Islamic Revolution. The Islamic Republic’s founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, had a dominating…

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