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Khamenei: US Election Will Make No Difference To Iran

In a televised speech Tuesday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei reiterated that Iran’s policy towards the United States would remain constant regardless of who won the US presidential election.

“Our policy toward America is calculated and clear, and this policy does not change,” insisted Khamenei, speaking on the occasion of the Prophet Mohammad’s birthday and the anniversary of the 1979 US embassy takeover in Tehran. “No matter who wins the US elections, it won’t affect our policy toward America. Some people talk about what will happen if this or that one is elected. Yes, certain events may happen but they don’t concern us.”

Khamenei denounced Western “arrogance” while advocating Iran’s economic development through “self-reliance” and defending its missile program as necessary national defense. He drew a parallel between the US and the ancient Egyptian pharaohs, who are symbols of oppression and decadence in the Koran.

“The regime in America will be demolished!” Khamenei said. “The regime in the United States suffers from moral and social decay. When a regime reaches this point, you can see its end.” In another part of the speech, the Leader asserted that “the Zionist regime in Israel” would be “annihilated” with Palestine returning to its “previous situation” [before the creation of Israel in 1948].

Khamenei highlighted recent violence and tensions over the republication in France of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, harshly criticizing the French government and linking the cartoons to a Western and “Zionist” war against Islam. “This is not just the decadence of an artist,” Khamenei said. “There are other hands behind this occurrence.” Nevertheless, Khamenei did not condemn violence by Islamic extremists in France, Austria and elsewhere.

Khamenei also referred to France’s assistance to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq during the 1980-88 war – which included fighter aircraft and tanks – and for its use of violence against protesters. Khamenei accused Saudi Arabia and the US of helping form takfiri groups, and of supporting the Islamic State group (Isis), without offering any evidence. He said these governments should be blamed more than those who joined jihadist groups, and stressed Iran would defend itself from jihadist groups at its borders, a likely reference to militant jihadis fighting with Azerbaijani forces against Armenia.

But the ostensible subject of his speech was the takeover of the US embassy by students in Tehran in 1979, which he called “a token of the Iranian nation’s struggle against big powers.” Over 50 US staff were taken hostage and most held for 444 days.

“Our youths had no problem with those who worked at the embassy,” Khamenei said. “This was simply a symbolic act against the oppressive regime.”

Opposition groups and the international community have always criticized Iran’s leaders for supporting the embassy takeover and possibly engineering it. Some Iranian politicians have criticized the act as an event that ruined Iran's economy and foreign relations for decades.

But Khamenei claimed that the enmity between the Islamic Republic and the West was started by Western governments.

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