The USG Open Source Center translates Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s response to the Persian New Year’s message of US President Barack Obama. For a canny reading of this text, see the blog posting of Iran expert Farideh Farhi. See my own first impressions in my Sunday comments, as well as Michael Jensen’s article in the Irish Times.
Iranian Supreme Leader Demands ‘Real’ Change from US
Speech by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamene’i to a gathering at the Imam Reza shrine in Mashhad, on the occasion of Nowruz, the Iranian New Year — live
Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran Network 1
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Document Type: OSC Translated Text
[Khamenei:] . . . Regarding the foreign affairs of our country, I would like to mention one point, and that is the issue between us and the United States. One of the main challenges for the Revolution, right from the beginning, was the same issue. Right from the first day of the Revolution’s victory, a phase was opened for the Iranian nation, as a major test in its relations and interactions with the government of the United States of America. This major and important test continued for the past 30 years. The US Government faced this Revolution with an angry and frowning face, and opposed us from the beginning. Of course, they had the right to do so, considering their own calculations.
Before the Revolution, Iran was in the hands of the United States, its vital resources were in the hands of the United States, its political decision-making centers were in the hands of the United States, decisions to appoint and depose its vital centers were in the hands of the United States, and it (Iran) was like a field for the United States, the US military, and others on which to graze. Well, this was taken away from them. They could have expressed their opposition in not such an aggressive manner. But from the beginning of the Revolution, both their Republican presidents, and the Democrats, did not behave well toward the Islamic Republic. This is not secret from anyone.
(People chant: “Death to America”)
Pay attention, the first measure taken by the United States was to provoke the scattered opposition groups of the Islamic Republic, and to support terrorism and disintegration in the country. They started this right from the beginning. In any parts of the country, where there were grounds for disintegration, the United States had a hand, we noticed their money, and at times their agents. This cost our people much. Unfortunately, this continues. The bandits in the Iran-Pakistan border areas, we know that some of them — as we have their voices (as received) — are in touch with Americans.
They have wireless communications, and take orders from them. Bandits, terrorists, murderers, are in touch with US officers in a neighboring country. Unfortunately, this still goes on. This was the beginning of what they started. Then it was the confiscation of property and goods belonging to Iran. The former regime gave a large amount of money to the United States to buy airplanes, helicopters, and weapons from them. Some of them over there were prepared, and when the Revolution took place, they did not deliver them. They did not give back the money, which amounted to millions of dollars. And the strange point is that they kept these goods in a store, and considered storage charges for it, which they claimed from the Algeria Agreement. To take away some goods from a nation, confiscate them, and fail to deliver them, and then claim storage charges for it! This is the kind of behavior started then, which continues. Our possessions are still there. They belong to the Iranian nation. They are in the United States and also some European countries. We referred to them over the past years, and asked them to give us what belongs to us and what we paid for. They said that since they are under the license of the United States, the United States does not allow them to do so; they cannot return them to us, and they are still there.
They showed Saddam (late Iraqi president) a green light. This was another plan by the US Government to attack Iran. If Saddam did not have the green light from the United States, he would have not attacked our borders. They imposed eight years of war on our country. About 300,000 of our young people, our people, were martyred in this eight-year war. In these eight years (Iran-Iraq war), particularly in the last few years of it, the United States constantly supported Saddam and helped him financially, with ammunition, and political advice. They provided him with satellite information. They had information facilities. They recorded the movements of our forces by satellite, and transferred this information the very same day to Saddam’s HQ to use against our young people and forces.
They (the United States) closed their eyes to Saddam’s crimes. The Halabcheh (southern Iranian town bordering Iraq) incident took place, hitting various towns of our country with missiles. They destroyed houses, they used chemical bombs on the frontlines, they still closed their eyes. They did not object at all. They helped Saddam. This was another one of the acts of this government over the years toward our country and our nation.
Then, please pay attention; there is a lot of time for chanting. Toward the end of the war, a US officer hit our airplane on the Persian Gulf with a missile from a warship. Some 290, about 300, passengers were in this plane, and they were all killed. And then, instead of punishing that officer, the US President of that time awarded that officer and gave him a medal. Now, should our nation forget this? Can it forget? They supported criminal terrorists who killed men, women, people, great scholars, even little children in our country. They (the United States) allowed them (terrorists) to be active in their country. They constantly released aggressive propaganda against our country. Constantly!
In the past years, US Presidents, particularly during the eight years of the former president (referring to President George W. Bush), whenever he said something against the Iranian nation, against our country, against our officials, against the Islamic Republic system, he said something absurd and nonsensical. He did not respect the Iranian nation. It was always like this over the years. They disturbed the security and peace in our region, security in the Persian Gulf, Iraq, and Afghanistan. They brought massive quantities of weapons to the regional countries, in order to stand against the Islamic Republic, in fact to fill the pockets of armaments factories.
They unconditionally supported Israel, the cruel Zionist regime. You witnessed one example of its (Israel’s) cruelty in Gaza in the past two, three months. What a disaster they created. How many children they killed, how many men and women they killed. In 22 days they killed 5,000 people in Gaza with bombardments, missiles, and direct shootings. In the meanwhile they supported it. The US Government supported it until the very last moment. Whenever the Security Council wanted to issue a resolution against the Zionist regime, the United States stepped forward and defended (Israel), and did not let it happen. It (the United States) threatened our country on any occasion. It constantly said that it will attack us. They said that they had a military plan ready on the desk, they will do this, and they will do that.
They constantly talked against our country and threatened our nation. Of course, these threats did not affect our nation, but they showed their enmity by doing so. They insulted the Iranian nation, the Iranian government, and the Iranian president, over and over again. Some years ago, an American said that the Iranian nation must be eradicated. In the past few years, a US official said that a nice and moderate Iranian is one that was killed, who is dead. They insulted this great and honorable nation, the nation whose only fault is to defend its identity and independence in such ways.
They imposed sanctions on our country for 30 years. Of course, these sanctions were in our benefit. With this regard, we must thank the United States.
If they had not imposed sanctions on us, we would have not reached this level of science and progress. Sanctions constantly made us aware, made us think about ourselves, and be innovative. But they did not mean to serve us like this. They wanted to be antagonist. This is how they treated the Iranian nation for 30 years, and now the new US Government says that they would like to negotiate with Iran, that we should forget the past. They say that they extended their arm towards Iran. What kind of a hand? If it is an iron hand covered with a velvet glove, then it will not make any good sense. They congratulate the Iranian nation on the occasion of the New Year (Iranian New Year started 20 March 2009), but in the same message call the Iranian nation supporters of terrorism, who seek nuclear weapons, and accuse it of such things.
I would like to say that I do not know who makes decisions for the United States, the President, the Congress, elements behind the scenes? But I would like to say that we have logic. Since the beginning, the Iranian nation moved with logic. Regarding our vital issues, we are not sentimental. We do not make decisions based on emotion. We make decisions through calculation. They tell us to negotiate, to start relations. They have the slogan of change.
Where is the change? What has changed? Clarify this to us. What changed? Has your enmity toward the Iranian nation changed? What signs are there to support this? Have you released the possessions of the Iranian nation? Have you removed the cruel sanctions? Have you stopped the insults, accusations, and negative propaganda against this great nation and its officials? Have you stopped your unconditional support for the Zionist regime? What has changed? They talk of change, but there are no changes in actions. We have not seen any changes. Even the literature has not changed. The new US President, from the very moment of his official appointment as President, made a speech, and insulted Iran and the Islamic government. Why? If you tell the truth, and there are changes, where are these changes? Why can we see nothing? I would like to say this to everyone. US officials should also know that the Iranian nation cannot be fooled, or scared.
First of all… (Interrupted by chanting)
Changes in words are not adequate; although we have not seen much of a change there either. Change must be real. I would like to say this to US officials, that this change that you talk about is a real necessity; you have no other choice, you must change. If you do not change, then divine traditions will change you, the world will change you. You must change, but this change cannot be in words only. It should not come with unhealthy intentions. You may say that you want to change policies, but not your aims, that you will change tactics. This is not change. This is deceit.
There can be true change, which should be seen in action. I advise US officials, whoever is the decision-maker in the United States, whether the President, Congress, or others, that the US Government has not worked to the benefit of the American people. Today, you are hated in the world. You should know this, if you do not already. Nations set fire to your flag. Muslim nations across the world chant “Death to America.”
(People chant: “Death to America”)
What is the reason behind this hatred? Have you ever studied this? Analyzed it? Have you learnt from it? The reason is, that you treat the world like a pupil, you talk snobbishly, you want to impose your own will on the world, you interfere in the affairs of other countries, and you implement double-sided criteria. When a young Palestinian is forced to perform some act of martyrdom, because of the pressure he is under, you bombard him with a mass of propaganda, and on the other hand you ignore the crimes of the Zionist regime, while it creates such a disaster in Gaza for 22 days. You call that young man a terrorist, and you say that you are committed towards the security of such a terrorist regime. These are the reasons that they hate you around the world.
This is advice to you. For your own benefit, for your own good, for the future of your country, restrain from your snobbish attitude, hegemony, and your lecturing attitude. Do not interfere in the affairs of other nations. Be happy with your own rights. Do not define benefits for yourself in various parts of the world. You will see that the United States will gradually lose its hated image in the world. These deed have made you hated.
Listen to these words. This is my advice to US officials, the President, and others. Listen well to these words, and have them translated for you. Of course, do not give it to the Zionists to translate for you. Consult healthy people, and seek their opinions.
If the US Government continues its same behavior, method, course, policies against us, as in the past 30 years, we are the same people, the same nation that we were for the past 30 years.
Please pay attention. If you go on with the slogan of discussion and pressure, saying that you will negotiate with Iran, and at the same time impose pressure, threats, and changes, then our nation will not like such words. We do not have any experience with the new US President and Government. We shall see and judge. You change, and we shall change as well. If you do not change, our people became more and more experienced, stronger, and more patient in the past 30 years.
End/ (Not Continued)