Leader says U.S. must prove change ‘in practice’

April 4, 2009

MASHHAD – The Supreme Leader declared on March 21 that the Obama administration should take concrete steps to prove that Washington’s behavior toward Tehran is changing “in practice”, saying that Iran will respond in kind to U.S. policy shift.

“Change should not be in language. … If you want to follow previous policies and just change tactics it would be a plot and not a change. And if you mean real change it must be seen in practice,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei underscored.
The words by the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution came in response to President Barack Obama’s change of tone and his video message to Iran on Noruz (Persian New Year).
The Leader asked the new U.S. administration: “Show us if really anything other than your language has changed. Has your animosity with the Iranian nation changed? Have you unfrozen Iranian assets? Have you lifted sanctions? Have you stopped mudslinging? Have you ended unconditional support for the Zionist regime?”
The Leader said Iran will respond in kind to any policy shift by the White House.
""Should you change, our behavior will change too,"" the Leader declared as he was addressing a large crowd in Mashhad on the first day of the Iranian New Year.
“Our word is that as long as the American administration pursues hostile approaches, policies, and actions as in the past 30 years, our nation will also” reciprocate, the Leader pointed out.
“We do not really know who the decision-maker is in America: president or Congress, or elements behind the scene. However, in either case we insist that the Iranian nation” analyzes issues and behaves “reasonably” and does not acts “sensationally”.
The Leader cited a number of U.S. hostile acts toward Iran since the victory of the Islamic Revolution including support for Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran, the downing of the Iranian passenger plane over the Persian Gulf waters in 1988, economic sanctions, support for the MKO terror group, and continuous military threats against the Islamic Republic.
The Leader said according to credible intelligence reports even now Washington is supporting hooligans in Iran’s borders with Pakistan.
“In the last 30 years the American officials have insulted the Iranian nation and officials many many times.”
The Leader added some of U.S. officials have even been pushing for toppling the Islamic Republic system.
“Can the Iranian nation forget these issues?” Ayatollah Khamenei asked.
Obama has said his administration would reward Iran if it gives up its right to nuclear technology otherwise more sanctions would be imposed on the country.
However, the Leader warned, “All American officials and others should know that the Iranian nation will neither be deceived nor intimidated.”
In his first news conference as president, Obama said he is looking for opportunities for ""face-to-face"" dialogue with Iran. “My expectation is in the coming months we will be looking for openings that can be created where we can start sitting across the table, face to face, diplomatic overtures that will allow us to move our policy in a new direction.”
But the Leader of the Islamic Revolution said, ""They say we have stretched a hand toward Iran. … If a hand is stretched covered with a velvet glove but it is cast iron inside, that makes no sense.""
Referring to Obama’s New Year message to Iran, the Leader said even in his congratulation message Obama has accused the “Iranian nation of supporting “terrorism” and seeking “nuclear arms”.
“Is this congratulation or repeating the same charges?” the Leader asked.
Obama sent a video message to Iran on March 20, offering diplomatic engagement between the two countries. “My administration is now committed to diplomacy that addresses the full range of issues before us, and to pursuing constructive ties among the United States, Iran and the international community.”
However, he claimed that a right place for Iran ""cannot be reached through terror or arms, but rather through peaceful actions that demonstrate the true greatness of the Iranian people and civilization.""
The main bone of conflict between Iran and the U.S. is over Tehran’s nuclear enrichment program. However, Iran is a signatory to the NPT and its nuclear activities are closely monitored by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency.
Leader calls for proper use of national resources
In his New Year message, the Supreme Leader also advised the nation and officials to avoid a waste of national resources, saying that resources must be used in a “wise and reasonable” way.
Ayatollah Khamenei called the year 1388 (the Iranian year which started on March 21) the “year of conservation”.
The Leader said the current pace of using national resources “threatens the future of the country.”
The Leader was mainly referring to the excessive use of energy resources in the country.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also wished success for the Iranian nation and those foreign nations who celebrate Norouz.
The Leader also said the last year (March 2008 – March 2009) marked an important episode in the Iranian history that despite economic sanctions the country made new advancements in nuclear technology and succeeded to launch satellite into space which truly put Iran in the ranks of a few developed countries which have gained access to this advanced technology.
“The year 1387 began with good nuclear news which proved the competence of the Iranian nation and the skillful scientists of this (Iranian) land, and the launch of Omid satellite put Iran in the ranks of several countries which possess this important technology. And these truly surprising progresses have brought new dignity to the Iranian nation,” the Leader explained in his New Year message.
Ayatollah Khamenei also called the test run of Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant during the last Iranian month an important event.
The Leader went on to say that these repeated progresses have proved the “ineffectiveness” of sanctions and that bullying powers have become “convinced” that they cannot halt the progress of the Iranian nation in using nuclear technology which is solely intended for civilian uses.
“The world has become ‘convinced’ that it cannot close the path to nuclear advancement by the Iranian nation as these progresses in different scientific fields… proved the ineffectiveness of sanctions,” the Leader noted.