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Think The Nuclear Deal Marked An Improvement In Relations With Iran? Think Again

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Jonah Bennett Contributor

The nuclear deal between the U.S. and Iran hasn’t appeared to assuage anti-American sentiments in Tehran, as evidenced by a series of provocative moves over the past few weeks, including the arrest of a Lebanese-American for supposed spying.

To mark the 36th anniversary of the 1979 hostage crisis, when students swarmed the American embassy in Tehran, Iranian media announced the arrest of a student the government actually invited to the country. The student, authorities allege, is a spy, The New York Times reports. Thousands of Iranians burned American flags Wednesday and chanted slogans like “Death to America,” “God damn America,” and “No compromise, no surrender to U.S.”

The supreme leader of Iran remarked that the “Death to America” slogan is eternal, though he clarified by saying that he was referring to America’s policies, rather than the people.

“The slogan ‘Death to America’ is backed by reason and wisdom,” he said in a speech, according to The Guardian. “It goes without saying that the slogan does not mean death to the American nation; this slogan means death to the United States policies, death to arrogance.”

Supreme leader Ayatollah Khamanei has previously stated that the deal did not entail a positive or favorable relationship with the U.S., meaning anti-American activities should come as no surprise. But an additional reason for the activity may be the upcoming parliamentary elections in Iran next February. President Hassan Rouhani, in search of reelection, could be pandering to hardline anti-American factions within the country to secure the vote. Khamanei might be attempting to assure Iranians that despite the deal, he is not interested in appeasing Americans.

“The truth is that the US’s objectives regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran have not changed at all,” Khamanei said. “And they would not spare a moment if they could destroy the Islamic Republic; but they can’t.”

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