A leading commander in Iran's Revolutionary Guards has claimed his country's ultimate aim is to turn the United States into "an Islamic Republic," and rejected any possibility of a thawing in relations between Tehran and "The Great Satan."
An undated video released by the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran, an Iranian opposition group, shows Commander Hassan Abbasi – who is also a member of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei's inner circle – making the comments during an address, in which he lashed out at unnamed Iranian officials for expressing hope that a nuclear deal with the US could open the door for wider ties.
Abbasi, a fierce Khamenei loyalist, insisted that any deal with America would be limited purely to Tehran's nuclear program.
"The Supreme Leader’s position has always been negotiation just on the nuclear issue," he said. "Some people during their speech have said that those who say we are only negotiating for nuclear energy are wrong. We are aiming to solve all the problems with the world.
"No sir! This is not in your jurisdiction to solve all the problems through negotiations! The country has a Supreme Leader, and a constitution, and the limits have been defined. War and peace in constitution is the Leader’s responsibility. The Parliament has defined the policies. You have been told from the start of the negotiations to remain within your boundaries."
Abbasi went on to attack the US, noting the position of Iran's leadership remains one of perpetual hostility towards America and opposition to its most fundamental values.
"What do you want to solve with America? If you are referring to the Imam’s comments, Imam said America is the Great Satan," he declared, referring to comments by the Islamic Republic's first Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini, who led the Islamic Revolution.
"Has the Satanic nature of America been resolved?" he asked rhetorically.
"Imam said America is naturally a terrorist state. Is the US no longer a terrorist state? …Imam said America is the mother of all corruptions. Is America no longer the mother of all corruptions?"
Abbasi then referred to comments made "two weeks ago" by Khamenei, in which he explicitly stated that the talks with world powers were limited to the nuclear issue. Although the precise comments in question are unclear, Khamenei did state as much to Iranian diplomats back in August 2014.
But Abassi also references the "fact sheet" of the framework deal, which was only signed in April 2015, possibly indicating the undated recording is more recent.
"The Supreme Leader said two weeks ago that the negotiation is only limited to the nuclear issue," he said. "Considering that our interests are opposite to that of the US in the region, our relationship to the US is only limited to the nuclear issue."
"What kind of comments have you been making lately?" he asked, addressing the unnamed officials he was criticizing directly.
"Who says leave the fact sheet and other issues aside, and just concentrate on the fact that we are finally sitting at the table with them (the US)? No dear friend. It is not right.
"Just as we defeated the United States’ policies in Syria and Lebanon and Iraq and Yemen in the Middle East, we will not rest until we make the United State an Islamic Republic too."
Iran and word powers, led by the US, have until a June 30 deadline to finalize a formal deal over Tehran's nuclear program.