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Iran criticizes US presence in the Persian Gulf


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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran's Supreme Leader criticized the U.S. presence in the Persian Gulf region on Monday, saying American forces should go back to the Bay of Pigs, state media reported.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told a group of teachers Monday that American military drills in the region were proof of U.S. arrogance.

"They sit together, scheme and say that Iran must not hold war games in the Persian Gulf. What a foolish remark! They come here from the other side of the globe and stage war games. What are you doing here? Go back to the Bay of Pigs. Go and hold exercises there. What are you doing in the Persian Gulf? The Persian Gulf is our home," said Khamenei. State TV broadcast part of his speech.

His remarks were an apparent reference to the 1961 failed invasion of Cuba by 1,500 CIA-trained exiles. Muslims also view pigs as unclean animals as the Quran prohibits followers of Islam from eating pork.

Khamenei also urged education officials to add other languages to their foreign language programs, saying limiting the curricula to English was a mistake.

"The language of science is not English alone. Insisting on promotion of English alone is unhealthy," said Khamenei. "Other languages like Spanish, French, German and Eastern languages are the languages of science, too."

Khamenei also reiterated his criticism about the conspicuous spending habits of Iran's increasingly prominent wealthy upper class, saying the government needed to regulate consumption patterns. Critics have drawn attention to the wave of new luxury cars present in Tehran and other major cities.

"I have many times warned but the consumption patterns have not been amended. The nouveau-riche kids with those cars in the streets are there for this reason, he said.

Khamenei has the final say on all state matters in Iran. Despite last summer's landmark deal between Iran and the world powers, he has remained publicly suspicious of Western intentions toward Iran and the influence of Western culture and values.

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