Terence P. Jeffrey | Editor in Chief | Monday, June 09, 2008
In his speech at the tomb of his predecessor, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Khamenei made it clear that he understood America to be the leader among "the tyrants of the world."
Khamenei gave the speech to mark the 19th anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Khomeini, who died on June 3, 1989, ten years after he sparked a revolution in Iran that overthrew the regime of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, a U.S. ally, and instituted a Shiite Islamic theocracy.
Khamenei's speech was presented as a review of the lessons that Ayatollah Khomeini taught in his "last will and testament."
While predicting that terrorists would obtain nuclear weapons, Khamenei claimed Iran was not interested in obtaining nuclear weapons itself, but only wanted to develop nuclear energy.
At one point during Khamenei's speech, according to a translated transcript published by the BBC, the crowd at the mausoleum chanted: "Death to Israel." At other points, it chanted: "Palestine is victorious, Israel is defeated," and "Nuclear energy, our absolute right."
Khamenei's virulent attacks on Israel appeared to echo the rhetoric of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has said that "Israel should be wiped off the map."
At Khomeini's tomb on Tuesday, Khamenei, who holds more power than Ahmadinejad under Iran's Islamic revolutionary constitution, lashed out at both America and "Arabic nations" for allowing Israel to "stand on its feet."
"Other nations, just like the Iranian nation, consider Israel as a false and imposed regime in the region," said Khamenei, according to the BBC translation. "The Zionist regime has no power by itself and cannot stand on its own feet. Today, two factors have helped the Zionist regime stand on its feet. First, the unconditional and despicable support of America for this decadent regime, and second is lack of support of Islamic and Arabic nations for the Palestinian people."
Khamenei claimed Iran was not interested in pursuing nuclear weapons because they are against "Islamic beliefs," but said that terrorists would get nuclear weapons.
"The Iranian nation is against such weapons based on its religious and Islamic beliefs as well as based on logic and wisdom. Nuclear weapons have no benefit but high costs to manufacture and keep them," he said, according to the BBC translation. "Nuclear weapons do not bring power to a nation because they are not applicable. Nuclear weapons cannot be used."
A moment later he added, "Before long, the world's terrorists will have access to nuclear weapons and take away security from all the tyrants of the world and all the nations of the world."
Khamenei told the chanting crowd at the mausoleum that the late Ayatollah Khomeini's advice to them was to resist America, and -- in a probable allusion to the Iranian-backed Mahdi Army in Iraq -- said that some Iranians even now were following Khomeini's advice.
Citing Khomeini's last will and testament, Khamenei also predicted that Iran's Islamic revolution would spread around the world as people elsewhere were inspired by the things it had done for Iran.
"The spread of revolution amongst nations is through presenting a blueprint for an Islamic Republic ... when the nations see this blueprint they become so overjoyed that they would follow it," he said.
Gen. David Petraeus, who has been nominated to head the U.S. Central Command, warned the Senate Armed Services Committee two weeks about Iran's pursuit of nuclear technology and its persistence in fighting "proxy wars" across the Middle East.
"It persists in its non-transparent pursuit of nuclear technology and continues to fund, train and arm dangerous militia organizations," Petraeus told the committee. "Iran's activities have been particularly harmful in Iraq, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories and Afghanistan. In each location, Tehran has, to varying degrees, fueled proxy wars in an effort to increase its influence and pursue its regional ambitions."
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