Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — Senate Finance chair backs budget action on fossil fuel subsidies Kerry: 'We can't get where we need to go' in climate fight if China isn't joining in A new UN climate architecture is emerging focused on need for speed MORE said this week that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s vow to defy U.S. policies in the Middle East despite a deal over it's nuclear program is “very disturbing.”
“I don’t know how to interpret it at this point in time, except to take it at face value, that that’s his policy,” Kerry said in an interview with Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television posted Tuesday.
“But I do know that often comments are made publicly and things can evolve that are different. If it is the policy, it’s very disturbing, it’s very troubling, and we’ll have to wait and see,” Kerry added.
In a fiery speech over the weekend, the Iranian leader said an international accord between the U.S. and a handful of powers with Iran would not change Tehran's relations with an “arrogant” America.
“American interests and politics in the region are 180 degrees different to ours,” he said in the televised address, according to NBC News.
“Whether the deal is approved or disapproved, we will never stop supporting our friends in the region and the people of Palestine, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Lebanon,” he added.
President Obama said during a lengthy press conference last week that the deal lifting sanctions on Iran in exchange for new limits on its nuclear program did not change the fact that Iran sponsors terrorism.
“Even with this deal, we will continue to have profound differences with Iran – its support for terrorism and its use of proxies to destabilize parts of the Middle East,” Obama said in Washington.
The Obama administration has sought to reassure Gulf allies that the U.S. is committed to counterterrorism strategies in the region.
“My belief, and I think President Obama's belief and our military assessments – our intelligence assessments – are that if they organize themselves correctly, all of the Arab states have an untapped potential that is very, very significant to be able to push back against any of these activities,” Kerry said.