Iran's supreme leader said Saturday he saw no change in American policy towards the Islamic Republic, a day after U.S. President Barack Obama issued an unprecedented videotaped appeal to the country.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei sharply criticized American behavior towards Iran since its 1979 Islamic revolution and said the U.S. was "hated in the world" and should stop interfering in other countries' internal affairs.
Khamenei added that Iran is willing to change if Obama leads the way by changing American attitude towards his country.
His speech came a day after Obama offered Tehran a "new beginning" to turn back the tide on decades of mutual animosity.
No change in sight
"We cannot see any change. What is the change in your policy? Did you remove the sanctions? Did you stop supporting the Zionist regime? Tell us what you have changed. Change only in words is not enough," Khamenei said in a televised speech to mark the Iranian New Year.
Last week President Obama ordered the extension of the U.S. economic sanctions against Iran imposed in 1995 and said Tehran continued to pose an "extraordinary threat" to the U.S. national security and foreign policy.
The sanctions prohibit U.S. companies from doing trade, export/import and investment with Iran and from helping the development of its oil industry.
But yesterday, on the occasion of Nowruz, or new day, Obama said his administration seeks “honest” engagement “grounded in mutual respect” with Iran.
“My administration is now committed to diplomacy that addresses the full range of issues before us, and to pursuing constructive ties among the United States, Iran and the international community,” Obama added.
But Supreme Leader Khamenei said a change of U.S. "words" was not enough and that Iran has “no experience with the new American government and the new American president.”
"We will observe them and we will judge. If you change your attitude, we will change our attitude," Khamenei said.