Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader attacked US policies in the region and countered Obama’s Norooz message to Iranian people saying “Death to America!” is what Iranians always chant in their demonstrations.
Barack Obama marked the arrival of Iranian New Year, Norooz with a message reaching out to Iranian people. In his message he condemned Islamic Republic’s “campaign of intimidation and abuse.” He also compared the protests in Tahrir Square that led to the ouster of the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to Iran’s anti-government election protests “in Azadi Square in June 2009.”
According to Iranian state media, Ayatollah Khamenei told his audience in Mashhad on Monday: “Obama has said that the people that gather in Azadi Square are like the people in Tahrir Square. Yes; the people who gather in Iran’s Azadi Square on February 11 are like them because they are always chanting ‘Death to America!”
Iran customarily observes rallies leading to Azadi Square on February 11 of every year marking the victory of the 1979 Revolution that ousted the Iranian monarchy.
Ayatollah Khamenei has compared the Arab uprisings in the region to the 1979 Revolution in Iran but the Iranian opposition forces who have also staged mass demonstrations in Azadi Square, insist that the Arab uprisings were inspired by the Iranian protests which broke out following the alleged fraud in the Islamic Republic elections. The election protests in Iran have led to the opposition Green Movement demanding reforms and criticizing Islamic Republic’s repressive domestic political policies.
Ayatollah Khamenei who has denied there has been any fraud in the elections and called leaders of the opposition “seditionists”, said today that “the American pattern of defeat in the region will continue” insisting that the Arab uprisings are “an awakening of the Islamic people.”
Khamenei said: “They (the Americans) claim they are against dictatorship and for people’s rights but they lie, because they not only don’t take pity on other nations, they do not even show mercy for their own people,” Khamenei said. “This current president of America spent thousands of billions of dollars from his people’s money despite the economic recession to save the banks and companies.”
Iranian establishment claims the election protests are a “foreign plot” to topple the government but the Iranian opposition insists that it is a grassroots reform movement shaped by people’s demands.
The Islamic Republic has clamped down on protesters with fierce security measures and widespread arrests.