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Iran's Khamenei dismisses Obama's Persian New Year gesture.

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03/21/2009 03:01 PM
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Iran's Khamenei dismisses Obama's Persian New Year gesture.
Hmmm ... hmm ... that didn't go very well.

Iran's Khamenei rebuffs Obama overture

Reporting from Tehran and Beirut -- Iran's most powerful figure dismissed President Obama's extraordinary Persian New Year gesture, insisting today that the U.S. administration's actions must match its rhetoric before Tehran would alter its foreign policy, in an apparent attempt to keep the political establishment unified behind an anti-American posture.

Supreme leader Ali Khamenei, who is Iran's highest spiritual, military and political authority, told supporters in his hometown of Mashhad that "changes in words" would not be enough to convince Iran that the Obama administration was sincere in its outlook.
"We do not have any record of the new U.S. president," he said in a live television broadcast. "We are observing, watching and judging. If you change, we will also change our behavior. If you do not change, we will be the same nation as 30 years ago."

The crowd chanted, "God is great! Khamenei is the leader!"

As he spoke, Khamenei glanced cursorily at his notes, suggesting that his words were carefully considered. His remarks were the most detailed and authoritative response by any Iranian leader to several attempts by the Obama administration to reach out to the Islamic Republic.

Obama issued a 3 1/2 -minute videotape early Friday morning congratulating Iranian people and officials on the occasion of the important holiday, acknowledging three decades of strained relations with America and offering a new beginning.