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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran's Khamenei Welcomes Sanctions Relief, Warns of US 'Deceit'

by VOA News January 19, 2016

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is welcoming the lifting of international economic sanctions against his country, but says it must remain wary of the United States as curbs on Tehran's nuclear program are fully imposed.

Khamenei wrote Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to congratulate him Tuesday on the implementation of the nuclear pact Tehran negotiated with, Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia and the United States to keep Iran from building a nuclear weapon in exchange for lifting the sanctions that have hobbled Iran's economy, including its oil exports.

But Khamenei warned, 'I reiterate the need to be vigilant about the deceit and treachery of arrogant countries, especially the United States, in this [nuclear] issue and other issues. Be careful that the other side fully meets its commitments.'

He said that 'the comments made by some American politicians in last two, three days are suspicious.'

Khamenei did not name any U.S. political figures, but all of the Republican presidential candidates looking to succeed President Barack Obama when he leaves office a year from now have attacked the Iran nuclear pact, saying it will not keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and poses a security threat to Israel.

Several of the Republican contenders say they would disavow U.S. involvement with the international pact as soon as they take office.

No mention of the prisoner swap

Khamenei made no mention of the prisoner swap between Tehran and Washington, with five Americans freed by Iran and seven Iranians accused or convicted in the U.S. for violating the ban on trade with the Islamic republic being cleared of charges.

On Sunday the United States imposed new sanctions against five Iranian nationals and a network of companies with links to banned missile activity.

Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan said Monday the new sanctions targeting the country's ballistic missile program would have no effect on missile development.

Dehqan said the ballistic missile sanctions show the United States is 'hostile' towards Iran and he pledged to unveil new missile developments soon.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari called the new sanctions illegitimate.

Iran drew condemnation from the United States and other Western powers for two ballistic missile tests late last year they said violate U.N. Security Council resolutions. Iran defended the tests as a matter of national security.

'Vigorously' enforce sanctions

U.S. President Barack Obama said his government will 'vigorously' enforce sanctions against Iran's ballistic missile program.

The U.S. Treasury Department said the five Iranians worked to get missile components for Iran, as did the network of companies based In the United Arab Emirates and China that used third parties to try to deceive foreign suppliers and hide the identity of who would ultimately be using the materials.

Rouhani said Monday that Tehran would uphold its end of the nuclear deal as long as the 'other side' does, according to state news agency IRNA.

Victor Beattie contributed to this report.

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