“This new US president… has disgraced the remnants of America’s prestige and that of liberal democracy. America’s hard power, that is to say their economic and military power, is declining too,” Khamenei said in a speech to students in Tehran.
He added that the US had failed to regain its influence in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution ousted the US-friendly Shah.
“America’s goal has been to re-establish the domination it had [before 1979] but it has failed. America has been defeated by the Islamic Republic over the past 40 years,” state television reported him saying.
Khamenei’s defiant words come as the Trump administration gears up to reimpose all the economic sanctions previously lifted under 2015’s nuclear deal, which involves the blacklisting of 700 Iranian individuals, including those granted relief under the previous accord. They will take effect on Monday.
EU states have been vocal about keeping “effective financial channels” open with Iran despite the sanctions, after they were not included on a US list of eight nations allowed to continue purchasing oil from Tehran.
A statement from the bloc said it would protect its companies engaged in “legitimate business with Iran,” adding that it would cooperate with Russia and China in order to circumvent US pressure.