"Because they don't help. They are the enemy after all."

TEHRAN (AFP) - Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday that the outgoing government’s experience of engaging with world powers including the United States shows that “trusting the West does not work”.

President Hassan Rouhani’s signature diplomatic achievement, a 2015 nuclear deal with major powers, gave Iran some relief from international sanctions in exchange for limits on its nuclear programme.

But it was torpedoed in 2018 by then US president Donald Trump, who unilaterally withdrew from the agreement and reimposed punishing sanctions.

“Future generations should use this experience. It was made clear during this government that trusting the West does not work,” Khamenei told outgoing President Hassan Rouhani and members of his cabinet.

Rouhani’s government has been holding talks with major powers since April on bringing Washington back into the agreement, but a deal now seems unlikely until after he hands over to President-elect Ebrahim Raisi next month.

“Whenever you postponed issues with agreements with the West or negotiations with the West and America and the like, you were stuck and could not progress,” Khamenei said, according to his official website.

“Because they don’t help. They are the enemy after all.”

Trump’s successor Joe Biden has signalled his readiness to return to the nuclear deal and has engaged in indirect negotiations with Iran alongside the formal talks with the agreement’s remaining parties, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.

Rouhani’s successor Raisi is an ultra-conservative but has expressed support for the nuclear talks arguing that Iran needs an end to US sanctions.

Iran’s ultraconservative camp, which deeply distrusts the United States, has repeatedly criticised Rouhani over the 2015 deal.