Iran's supreme leader says Israel a 'illegitimate and bastard' regime
Iran's supreme leader described arch-foe Israel as an "illegitimate and bastard" regime yesterday, as he hit out at its alliance with the United States.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was speaking to a group of students at his residence, a day before the anniversary of the takeover of the US embassy in Tehran in 1979.
"The Americans have the highest indulgence towards the Zionists and they have to. But we do not share such indulgence," he said.
"The Zionist regime is an illegitimate and bastard regime," he said.
His remarks reaffirmed Tehran's position on Israel, which has been toned down since the departure from office of hardline former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Khamenei also commented on the new round of nuclear talks with the so-called P5+1 group of world powers in Geneva on November 7 and 8.
He said he was not optimistic but supported the revived negotiations with world powers over his country's nuclear drive.
"I am not optimistic about the negotiations but, with the grace of God, we will not suffer losses either," Khamenei said, according to his official website, Khamenei.ir.
"All the better if the negotiations bear fruit but if there are no results, the country should rely on itself," he said.
Next week's talks are aimed at curbing Iran's sensitive nuclear work in exchange for an easing of international sanctions strangling its ailing economy. It will be the second such meeting since Hassan Rowhani took office as Iran's president in August with a stated mandate of lifting the sanctions through constructive engagement.
All decisions on the nuclear programme, which the West suspects is masking a military drive despite repeated Iranian denials, rest with Khamenei. Khamenei also criticised the US policy of approaching Iran's nuclear work on two fronts - sanctions and diplomacy.
"The Americans smile and express desire for negotiation; on the other hand, they immediately say that all options are on the table," he said, referring to US and Israeli threats of military action should talks fail. "We should not trust a smiling enemy."