Iran’s Supreme Leaders, Ayatollah Khamenei yesterday claimed that American and European policy is dictated by a Zionist “network.”

According to the semi-official Fars news agency, Khamenei was addressing a large crowd in East Azerbaijan province, when he “said the global Zionism network dictates the US and many EU members’ policies vis-a-vis Iran.” Fars quoted Khamenei saying “the US and many European governments’ policies are dominated by this (Zionist) network.” He also alleged that “the Americans dealing with Iran’s nuclear issue should be understood within this particular framework.”

During the same speech, Khamenei said that the United States is attempting to “block” foreign investment in Iran, following the lifting of nuclear sanctions last month in the wake of July’s nuclear accord. He described the Americans as “not trustworthy” and responded to recent chants of “Death to America” at official Iranian rallies, saying, “When you act like this, when your past and present is nothing but open hostility, what else do you expect from the Iranian people?”

Khamenei has a lengthy record of hostile rhetoric towards Israel and the United States. Last year, he said that Israel will not exist in 25 years and just last month, publicised a video on his website which denied the Holocaust. Earlier this month, he suggested that American commitment to human rights was hypocritical as “They [the US] support the child-killer Zionist regime and regional allies that aren’t familiar with and don’t understand elections at all.”

Iran itself is preparing for parliamentary elections on 26 February, although ultimate power still lies with Khamenei. The vote though is largely viewed as a contest between relative moderates including President Hassan Rouhani and more conservative elements, symbolised by Khamenei.

In a separate development, Russia yesterday denied Iranian reports that an initial delivery of advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Iran is imminent. Although a deal has been agreed between the two countries, a Russian official said that Tehran is yet to pay for the military hardware.