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Khamenei, in North Korea, Attacks U.S.

May 16, 1989 GMT

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) _ President Ali Khamenei of Iran was quoted as saying at a meeting Monday with the president of North Korea that anti-Americanism could be the the most important factor in cooperation between their countries.

His statement to President Kim Il-Sung was broadcast by Tehran Radio, monitored in Nicosia.

Khamenei, now on a tour of the Far East, said the United States was hostile to progressive countries and threatened progressive governments in different parts of the world, according to the radio.

″This threat is particularly aimed at you and us. Anti-Americanism can be the most important factor in our cooperation with the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea,″ Khamenei was quoted as saying.

″I have repeatedly stressed to your envoys that among the reasons why Iran is close to Korea is the U.S.A.’s enmity toward both our countries.

″If big countries threaten progressive countries, then progressive countries should threaten them in turn. ... You have proved in Korea that you have the power to confront America.″

North Korea was reportedly a steadfast arms supplier to Iran throughout the 8-year-old Iran-Iraq war, when a Western arms embargo virtually isolated Iran. Khamenei arrived in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang from China, Iran’s other main arms supplier.

Iranian is reportedly spending up to $5 billion a year on new weapons despite postwar economic hardships. Communist North Korea and fundamentalist Moslem Iran are both strongly anti-Western.

North Korea hopes to pick up lucrative post-war reconstruction projects in Iran. The war ended in a United Nations-sponsored cease-fire last August.

With a resurgence of anti-Western sentiment following the Salman Rushdie case, Iran has been strengthening relations with non-Western industrialized nations that could help rebuild its devastated industries.

Khamenei’s tour Monday included a ride on the city subway system.

In February, Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini decreed that Indian-born British writer Rushdie blasphemed against Islam in his novel, ″The Satanic Verses,″ and should be killed.

North Korea supported the death call.