Iranian Leader Ali Khamenei in Response to President Obama's Message to the Iranian People: Change in Words Is Not Enough
Following are excerpts from a speech by Iranian Leader Ali Khamenei, which aired on IRINN TV on March 21, 2009.
Ali Khamenei: With regard to our country's international affairs, I will relate only to our issue with America. This issue has been one of the important tests of the revolution since day one.
From the very beginning, the U.S. government received the revolution with a scowl, a frown, and a harsh tone.
From day one of the revolution, the U.S. government – whether under a Republican or a Democratic president – treated the Islamic Republic badly, and this is clear to all.
Crowd: Death to America! Death to America!
Ali Khamenei: Listen... The first thing that the Americans did was to incite the scattered [elements] of the opposition to the Islamic Republic, and to help separatist and terrorist movements in our country. They started doing this from day one. Wherever the separatist movements were present in our country, we have seen the fingerprint of America – in the form of their money, and even their people. This has caused great damage to our people, and unfortunately, it still continues. Those evil people at the border areas of Iran with Pakistan... We have recordings of some of these evil people, and we know that they are connected to Americans. They talk to them via wireless radio, and get their orders from them. These are evil, murderous terrorists, who are connected to American officers in a neighboring country. Unfortunately, this is still going on.
They started with this, and then they moved on to confiscate and seize Iranian assets and goods. The previous regime had placed enormous amounts of money at the disposal of the Americans, in order to receive airplanes, helicopters, and weapons from them. Some of this equipment was already manufactured there, but when the revolution took place, they did not supply the equipment, nor did they return the billions of dollars. Even more extraordinary – they stored this equipment in some warehouse, and decided by themselves to charge storage fees. They turned themselves into creditors, and deducted storage fees from the account of the Algiers Accord. Plundering the property of another people and keeping it for themselves, and then charging storage fees – this behavior began back then, and it continues to this day.
Now the new U.S. administration is saying: "Let's forget about the past. We want to conduct negotiations with Iran." They are saying: "We are extending our hand to Iran." Well, what kind of hand are they extending? If they are extending an iron hand concealed in a velvet glove, then it has no positive meaning. They send greetings to the Iranian people for its holiday, but in those very greetings, they accuse the Iranian people of supporting terror, of pursuing nuclear weapons, and so on. Let me say that I do not know who the decision makers in the U.S. are – the President, Congress, or some people behind the scenes. But let me say that the Iranian people has acted with logic from day one. We do not act emotionally with regard to the issues important to us. We make decisions on the basis of calculations, rather than emotions.
They are saying: "Let’s negotiate and build relations." They use the slogan of "change." Well, where is this change? What has changed? Make it clear to us – what has changed? Has your hostility to the Iranian people changed? Where is the sign of that? Have you released the Iranian assets? Have you lifted the unjust sanctions? Have you stopped the mud-slinging, the accusations, and the propaganda against this great nation and its leaders, who rose from among the people? Have you stopped your unconditional defense of the Zionist regime? What has changed? They use the slogan of change, but in fact, there is no evidence of change. We have not seen any change. Not even the discourse has changed. The new American president, from the very first moment – when he entered office and made his speech – insulted Iran and the government of the Islamic Republic. Why? If you are right, and there really is change – where is this change? Why can't we see anything? I say this to everyone. The American officials and other people should know that it is impossible to deceive or intimidate the Iranian people.
Change in words is not enough – not that we have seen such a significant change in words so far. There should be real change. We should say to the American officials: The change you are talking about is something you yourselves need. You have no choice. You need to change. If you do not change, the divine law will change you, the world will change you. Indeed, you need to change, but not in words only. This change should not be accompanied by unhealthy intentions. You say: "We want to change our policy, but we will change our tactics, not our goals." This is not real change, it is deceit. Real change should be evident in actions.
I have a piece of advice to the American officials, to all the decision makers – to the President, Congress, and all the others. The situation in which the U.S. government has found itself is detrimental to both the American people and its government. Today, you are hated throughout the world. If you don't know this, you should. The peoples burn your flag. The Islamic peoples all over the world chant: "Death to America!"
Crowd: Death to America! Death to America!
Ali Khamenei: What is the reason for all this hatred? Have you ever analyzed this? Have you learned anything from this? The reason is that you treat the world as if you were its guardians. You talk with arrogance, and you want to impose your will on the world. You interfere in the affairs of other countries. You employ double standards in the world.
My advice to you is for your own good, for your own benefit, for the sake of the future of your country: Stop your arrogant tone of speech and your condescending conduct, stop your patronizing behavior, don't interfere in the affairs of other countries, be content with what you have. Do not define interests for yourselves throughout the world. [If you do as I say], you will see that the image of America in the world will gradually change from being hated to something else. This is what has made you so hated. Listen to these words. My advice to the American officials – to the president and to the others – is to think carefully about these things. Give it to someone to translate it for you – but don’t give it to the Zionists to translate.
Seek the advice and opinion of healthy people. As long as the U.S. government continues its conduct, its actions, and its policies against us, as it has done for the past 30 years, we will be the same people we have been in these 30 years.
[You say]: “We will negotiate with Iran and exert pressure on it.” This is a threat combined with enticement. Our people resents such talk. It is inacceptable to talk to our people like this.
We have no history with the new administration and president. We reserve our judgment. If you change, our conduct will change as well. If you do not change – our people has become, over the past 30 years, more resilient, stronger, and more experienced.
Crowd: Allah Akbar! Allah Akbar!