Iran's Supreme Leader Slams Obama Overture

Says no 'real change' in US policy
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 21, 2009 7:18 AM CDT
Iranian woman Marzieh Masaebi watches a TV showing President Barack Obama's new video message addressed to the Iranian people.   (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
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(Newser) – Iran's Supreme Leader dismissed overtures from President Obama today, saying Tehran does not see any change in US policy under its new administration. Responding to Obama's video message reaching out to Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said there will be no change between the two countries unless the American president brings "real changes" in foreign policy. Khamenei asked how Obama could congratulate Iranians on Nowruz, the Persian new year, and accuse the country of supporting terrorism and seeking nuclear weapons in the same message.

"They chant the slogan of change, but no change is seen in practice. We haven't seen any change," Khamenei said in a speech. But, he said, "should you change, our behavior will change too." Khamenei holds the last word on major policy decisions, and how Iran ultimately responds to any concrete US effort to engage the country will depend largely on his say.