By ARIEL BEN SOLOMON
Iran’s Foreign Minister slams Israel’s attempts to set red lines on the country’s nuclear program.
Hossein Salami, deputy head of Iran's Revolutionary Guard. Photo: REUTERS
The deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, Brig.-Gen. Hossein Salami said that the US’s status in the world has deteriorated and that its collapse is near.
“Today nowhere in the Muslim world” does anyone pull out “a red carpet for American officials and that’s why [US President Barack] Obama secretly” showed up at Bagram military base in Afghanistan without first letting President Hamid Karzai know, said Salami according to a report by Iran’s Fars news agency.
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“And this shows that the US empire is coming to an end,” he said.
Obama made a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Sunday and spoke to the Afghan president, but did not meet with him.
Karzai previously rejected an invitation extended through the US Embassy to meet Obama at Bagram.
“President Karzai said he would warmly welcome him [Obama] if he comes to the palace, but in no way would he go [to] Bagram to meet him,” Abdul Karim Khurram, Karzai’s chief of staff, told Reuters.
A US official said the White House was not surprised that the proposed visit did not work on short notice.
The commander also said, according to the report, that Iran continued to gain military and economic power, warning the country’s enemies that their plots against it would fail.
“Any enemy formula will entail an unexpected ending for him and this is due to the Iranian nation’s reliance on religious and Islamic beliefs,” added Salami.
Meanwhile, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif slammed Israel’s attempts to set redlines on the country’s nuclear program at a ministerial conference of the Non-Aligned Movement in Algeria on Wednesday.
“Is this not insolence towards the international law and the Non-Proliferation Treaty that [Israel], a non-member of NPT, which has massive nuclear arsenals and poses major existential threats to the entire Middle East region, sets redlines on Iran’s peaceful nuclear program?” asked Zarif, Iran’s Tasnim news agency reported.
Zarif said that attempts to paint Iran as a threat to the region and the world have repeatedly turned out to be “total lies” and that the country is opposed to nuclear weapons.
Separately, Iranian and Russian officials met in Tehran on Wednesday in order to expand trade cooperation, Fars reported.
Russian Ambassador to Iran, Levan Djagaryan, met the head of Iran’s Customs Administration, Massoud Karbasiyan.
“Iran and Russia are going to sign a new document on customs cooperation,” said Karbasiyan.
The Russian envoy called for improved bilateral trade.
Current trade is worth about $5 billion a year.
Reuters contributed to this report.