UK & World News

  • 8 February 2014, 20:39

Iran's Supreme Leader Accuses US Of 'Lying'

US officials who say they do not want to see regime change in Iran are 'lying', according to the Islamic Republic's Supreme Leader.

In a speech to mark the 35th anniversary of the 1979 revolution, which saw the American-backed Shah force into exile, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country's most powerful figure, accused Washington of having a "controlling and meddlesome" attitude towards Iran.

And the US "would not hesitate" to overthrow the Iranian government if it could, he is reported as saying.

Mr Khamenei also said the drive to revive the nation's economy should not rely on the lifting of sanctions, but on efforts at home.

He reportedly told the semi-official Fars news agency: "American officials publicly say they do not seek regime change in Iran. That's a lie.

"They wouldn't hesitate a moment if they could do it."

Mr Khameni also said Iran should look to home-grown answers to the nation's economic difficulties.

"The solution to our economic problems is not looking out and having the sanctions lifted.

"My advice to our officials, as ever, is to rely on infinite indigenous potentials," he said.

Mr Khamenei added: "Our stance toward the United States is due to its controlling and meddlesome attitude."

His comments reflect his long-standing animosity towards the US.

America and Iran have had no official ties since 1980 after Iranian students occupied the US embassy in Tehran, taking 52 diplomats hostage in protest against Washington giving refuge to the former Shah after he was deposed by the Islamic revolution.

But Mr Khamenei has given his guarded support to talks on Iran's nuclear programme being led by the new reformist government of President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

He has urged hardline critics of moves to reach a deal to be patient and understanding.

"No more than a few months have passed since the government took office.

"Authorities should be given the opportunity to push forward strongly. Critics should show tolerance toward the government," he said on his website.

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