Opinion

 

It's interesting to compare the positions of President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei using their own words. Quotes follow from an Obama interview and Ayatollah Khamanei's speech.

 

The Excavator

The following is taken from a comment made by Don Bacon at the website 'The Race for Iran' in an article called, "The Islamic Republic of Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei on the Continuing Fight for Independence."

 

It's interesting to compare the positions of President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei using their own words. Quotes follow from an Obama interview and Ayatollah Khamanei's speech.

 

Relative world situations

Obama
There is no doubt they are isolated. They have a very ingrown political system. They are founded and fueled on hostility towards the United States, Israel, and to some degree the West. And they have shown themselves willing to go outside international norms and international rules to achieve their objectives. All of this makes them dangerous. They've also been willing to crush opposition in their own country in brutal and bloody ways.

 

Ayatollah Khamenei
The Islamic Republic "is faced with a showdown with a few arrogant powers and governments...They have a number of followers who are also opposed to us, but their existence is not independent and they do not have any power. If superpowers like America stopped supporting them, they would be nothing. They would not even be considered in global and international equations. . .the regimes which are opposed to the Islamic Republic are in crisis."

 

Reason for showdown

Obama
I think it's entirely legitimate to say that this is a regime that does not share our worldview or our values. . . . I've emphasized is that preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon isn't just in the interest of Israel, it is profoundly in the security interests of the United States, and that when I say we're not taking any option off the table, we mean it. We are going to continue to apply pressure until Iran takes a different course.

 

Ayatollah Khamenei
Regarding claims that claims that "this showdown is because of such issues as the nuclear issue and the issue of human rights, and this is a lie...Today there is nobody in the world who believes that America is after human rights and the rights of nations or that the Zionist regimes-which commits genocide and murders children-is after establishing democracy in other countries...Similarly, their claim that they are opposed to the Islamic Republic because of nuclear weapons is also a lie."

 

The basis of the crisis

Obama
My point here is not that I believe the sincerity of the statements coming out of the regime. The point is that for them to prove to the international community that their intentions are peaceful and that they are, in fact, not pursuing weapons, is not inconsistent with what they've said. So it doesn't require them to knuckle under to us. What it does require is for them to actually show to the world that there is consistency between their actions and their statements. And that's something they should be able to do without losing face.

 

Ayatollah Khamenei
"The truth is that their opposition is because of the essence of the Revolution and the existence of the Islamic Republic. They were ruling the region without any worries. They had full control over a country like Iran, with its rich resources and numerous facilities. They used to do whatever they wanted. They used to make whatever decisions they wanted. They used to make the best of the facilities of our country in order to advance their own goals. But now they have been deprived of all these things.

 

Strength in negotiations

Obama
I think that the Israeli government recognizes that, as president of the United States, I don't bluff. I also don't, as a matter of sound policy, go around advertising exactly what our intentions are. But I think both the Iranian and the Israeli governments recognize that when the United States says it is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon, we mean what we say. Let me describe very specifically why this is important to us.

 

Ayatollah Khamenei
Our retreats emboldened them. There was a day when our government officials would be satisfied if they allowed us to have twenty-five centrifuges in the country, but they said it was not possible. Then our government officials became satisfied with having five centrifuges, but they still said it was not possible. Then our government officials became satisfied with three centrifuges, but again they said it was not possible...Today, we have eleven thousand centrifuges in the country. If we had continued those retreats, if we had continued that flexibility, we would have achieved none of these nuclear advances."

 

Iran reaction to sanctions

Obama
They know, for example, that when these kinds of sanctions are applied, it puts a world of hurt on them. They are able to make decisions based on trying to avoid bad outcomes from their perspective. So if they're presented with options that lead to either a lot of pain from their perspective, or potentially a better path, then there's no guarantee that they can't make a better decision.

 

Ayatollah Khamenei
Ayatollah Khamenei advances the "economy of resistance," which, of course, has "certain requirements": "Putting the people in charge of the economy are among the requirements of an economy of resistance...Certain things have already been done, but it is necessary to make more efforts. It is necessary to strengthen the private sector. The private sector should be encouraged to engage in economic activities and our banking system, governmental organizations and the organs that can help-such as the Majles and the judiciary-should help the people step into the arena of economy.

 

Effect of Arab Spring

Obama
The Arab Spring, as bumpy as it has been, represents a strategic defeat for Iran, because what people in the region have seen is that all the impulses towards freedom and self-determination and free speech and freedom of assembly have been constantly violated by Iran. [The Iranian leadership is] no friend of that movement toward human rights and political freedom. But more directly, it is now engulfing Syria, and Syria is basically their only true ally in the region.

 

Ayatollah Khamenei
Our movement has motivated the world of Islamic and today we can see the signs in North Africa, in the Middle East and in all countries. This is what they are angry about. The Islamic Republic is the focus. They want to harm the Islamic Republic and make it a lesson for others. This is their real motive. And this is another reality."

 

Jul 24, 2012
Supreme Leader's Speech to Government Officials

 

Mar 2, 2012

Conversation at White House, President Obama with Jeffrey Goldberg

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