The Corner

Iran’s Supreme Leader Speaks

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, spoke out yesterday on Iran’s nuclear program and the United States.  Here’s The Tehran Times’ coverage:

TEHRAN – Most countries oppose the attempts of a few Western powers to trample on Iran’s nuclear rights, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said in Semnan on Wednesday. Members of the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), and other organizations believe that nuclear energy should be freed from the monopoly of a few powers, Ayatollah Khamenei said in a speech. “They are praising the Iranian nation for its courageous endurance in securing its nuclear rights,” he added.

The major powers are currently split over a draft UN Security Council sanctions resolution drawn up by Britain, France, and Germany that seeks to put pressure on Iran to halt its uranium enrichment activities. The Iranian nation is aware that nuclear energy is an important factor in international development, he noted, adding, “The Islamic Republic of Iran is able to secure this inalienable right independently.”

“Everyone realizes that the continuous failures of the U.S. efforts against the Iranian nation and government are not accidental. Rather, it is a logical process due to the faith, vigilance, bravery, and timing of the Iranian nation,” he stated. Contrary to Western propaganda, Iran’s enemies, in particular the United States, have a weaker position than ten or fifteen years ago, the Leader argued. “The failures of the U.S. in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, and Afghanistan are evidence of this truth.”

“In Palestine, a government has been elected which does not recognize the Zionist regime and is not ready to hold talks with it. This shows that the U.S. has failed one hundred percent in Palestine,” Ayatollah Khamenei said. “The Iranian nation will advance on its glorious path with power, vitality, and effort and by relying on the abilities of the younger generation, and the global arrogance (imperialist powers) will be forced to back down,” he insisted.

Hmm.  A few thoughts: 

1) Khamenei is saying loud and clear that there isn’t anyway that diplomacy alone will be enough to curtail Iran’s nuclear program.

2) Tehran is making clear that it supports Hamas and will continue to promote violent opposition to the peace process. It will be impossible for Washington to re-engage more vigorously in the Arab-Israeli peace process as many Congressmen and Senators want, unless they are willing to counter the Iranian regime first.

3) Tehran believes the U.S. to have been weak since 1991 or 1996:  The years we decided not to finish the job in Iraq, and not to respond to the Iranian-planned bombing of the Khobar Towers.

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Civil-Military Relations, and a senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly.