Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the United States and Israel were playing "good cop, bad cop" to intimidate his country into making concessions on the nuclear dispute with the West.

"They make it seem like Israel wants to attack, but America is stopping it: the good cop, bad cop trick," Khamenei told senior statesmen at an iftar (fast-breaking supper during the holy month of Ramadan) function. "But I say out-loud: the reason they are not attacking is because it is too costly. The enemy has no other option at its disposal but make threats and impose sanctions."

Israel has repeatedly threatened to attack Iranian nuclear sites, and been skeptical about the current diplomatic drive by Western allies to persuade Iran to scale back its nuclear program in exchange for relief in economic sanctions imposed over the years as penalty.

Iran insists its nuclear program is peaceful, saying Israel's presumed nuclear arms are the real threat to peace.

In a boost to President Rouhani, who has been accused of being too soft toward the West, Khamenei said: "All should know that I support his government and use everything in my power to help it. I have trust in our negotiating team and am sure they will not give in on the rights of this nation."


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