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Muslims should pursue science to challenge US hegemony: Khamenei

Iran's leader Ayatollah Khamanei gives a speech in front of students in Tehran [Getty]

Date of publication: 12 May, 2018

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Iran's Supreme Leader frequently calls for Islamic unity to challenge US hegemony.

Iran's leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday urged unity among Muslims in pursuing scientific advancement, saying it would make it impossible for the US to dominate Islamic countries. 

Iran is an arch-rival of close US-ally Saudi Arabia. The two back competing groups in various predominately Muslim Middle Eastern states, including Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.

"Today, every movement that leads to mutual understanding of Islamic groups and sects is a good thing, and this gathering is an example of the movement for the unification of the Islamic nation," said Khamenei.

"The scientific movement must accelerate and the Islamic nation must once again reach heights of science and civilisation so that the enemies of Islam and the Americans cannot order around the heads of Islamic countries," Khamenei added.

Iran frequently calls for Islamic unity to help Tehran in its confrontation with the United States.

Tensions between Iran and the US ramped up after President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that Washington would withdraw from the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Khamenei said this week he is highly doubtful that Europe will provide the "real guarantees" needed for Iran to stay in the nuclear deal. However, analysts also said Iran was determined to maintain the moral high ground in the coming weeks.

Most international actors, including Russia, China, and European countries criticised Trump's move. A smaller number of countries, including Israel and most Gulf states, welcomed the news. 

Former US president Barack Obama made a rare public comment since leaving office to criticise Trump, calling the decision "so misguided". 

Tehran has long maintained that its nuclear programme is for energy and other peaceful purposes. UN inspectors had certified that Iran was complying with the 2015 deal on at least nine occasions. 

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