OBAMA’S ‘CHANGE’ IS NOT REAL – warn Iranian clerics

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AN IRANIAN cleric has criticised the letter written by the country’s president, Mahmud Ahmadinezhad, to the newly-elected American president, Barack Obama.

‘It appears that our president was a little too hasty; the policies of America are not going to change with one person,’ said Ayatollah Reza Ostadi.

Ayatollah Ostadi continued: ‘With the election of Obama, certain people became happy and published certain articles in the media.

‘But when these very people heard the statements of Obama, they regretted having made these statements.’

Other Iranian politicians and clerics condemned the recent remarks of US President-elect Obama against Iran.

One said that the Zionist lobby in America, that supports Israel, started investing in Obama’s candidacy two years before the US elections.

The US leaders are indebted to the Zionists, and now the Americans are having to pursue their policies, he added.

‘Our nation does not abandon its revolutionary ideals on the basis of some nonsense uttered by the heads of global arrogance,’ said Hojjat ol-Eslam Jaberian, reacting to Obama’s attack on Iran.

Meanwhile, the Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinezhad warned Washington against trying to occupy Iran, like it has Iran’s neighbours, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ahmadinezhad and his cabinet ministers visited the province of Mazandaran last week.

The president paid tribute to those in the province who had lost their lives defending the 1979 Iranian Revolution in the Iran-Iraq war that followed, in the 1980s, and to surviving war veterans and war disabled.

He said the Iranian people were ready for new sacrifices to stop the country being taken over by the American government.

‘Our sacrificers, families of martyrs, fathers, mothers, spouses, children and war veterans are all the greatest sacrificers,’ he said.

‘In our dear Iran the families of war veterans are present on every scene,’ he continued, adding that ‘the spirit of sacrifice in Iran is higher than anywhere else in the world.’

Ahmadinezhad condemned ‘the oppressions, selfishness, arrogance, aggressions and massacres’, spelling out that ‘We are still here and prepared to make more sacrifice if necessary’, should Iran face aggression.

He said: ‘I want to give you the good news that the world is moving on.

‘The time has passed when they could think of toppling Iran and occupying Iran.

‘They cannot do a damn thing, even together with seven generations that come after them.

‘They must now protect themselves from collapsing.

‘They are a bunch of exploitative, ill-mannered people, characterless people who have occupied certain posts in the world and think that they can achieve something through bullying and ill manners.

He warned potential aggressors saying:

‘No, the Iranian nation will slap your face so hard that you will forget your way home.

‘However, the Iranian nation does not want war.

‘The Iranian nation has placed a large mirror before you, revealing your character. The entire world can now see you.’

Iranian senior cleric Seyyed Ahmad Khatami said that, in view of past US practice, he had serious doubts that there would be any changes in America’s future foreign policy, despite the election of Obama.

‘It would be naive to think that there would be any changes in American policies,’ he said.

‘There are others who are running the stage.

‘Since 60 years ago, i.e. Eisenhower’s presidency, the American foreign policy has not even slightly changed.

‘The appearance of the game just changes.’

Khatami said: ‘Concerning foreign issues, the story of the American elections is still on the top of the list of daily events.

‘I want to mention four points in this respect.

‘First, the participation of people in the [US] election was unprecedented in the recent 60 years.

‘This is a clear message to those who are ready to hear.

‘The obvious message is resentment of Bush and his ambitious and arrogant policies.

‘This was a big no to Bush.

‘We used to say rightly – as endorsed by polls – that Bush was the most hated individual in the world.

‘Recently, I saw the result of a poll in Europe which indicated that 70 per cent of the American people hated Bush.

‘Some 80 per cent of Indonesian people said that they abhorred Bush.

‘Some 90 per cent of Egyptian people said that they detested Bush.

‘The polling institutes in America have come to the conclusion that Bush has been the most resented American president in history.

‘This is an important lesson to take.

‘The issue was clear at the international level. But at the local level, the people showed their hatred by their turnout at the polling stations.

‘The American people realised that Bush had made their country totally bankrupt in the political field.

‘They announced that the time for America to be a superpower has come to an end.’

He added: ‘They are in deep trouble in the economic field.

‘Everyday, one hears in the news that this or that bank or company has gone bankrupt.

‘Some 700 billion dollars have so far been injected in the financial organisations with no avail.

‘Their economy is still ailing. The number of their unemployed has increased to 10 million people.

‘People voted for change.

‘The 47-year-old successor of Bush should know that if he wants to take the same wrong path that Bush took, he will face a similar fate.

‘The second point is that Bush’s successor came forward with the slogan of change.

‘The question is why he chose this slogan and what the reason for the change was.

‘The reality is that world conditions imposed the change on America.

‘This was not the slogan of a party. It was the slogan of the American administration.

‘You know that American presidents do not have everything in their hands.

‘Behind-the-scenes strategists, i.e. political and economic masterminds, are those who determine what the policies should be.

‘The slogan of change was imposed on the American administration by world conditions.

‘This is because they realised that America had lost it all in every front.

‘In terms of human rights and the “fight against terrorism’’, the Americans’ practice at the Guantanamo Bay, American secret prisons in Europe, Iraqi prisons – where brutal tortures were conducted – revealed the realities.

‘It indicated that all their slogans were sheer lies.’

But Khatami warned again: ‘The appearance of the game just changes.

‘One day they feel that by the slogan of change they can keep things in their hands, the other day with the slogan of the “fight against terrorism’’.

‘Therefore, it is not right to raise any hopes.’

• A senior adviser to Iran’s president is reported saying that Iran’s reserves have been converted to gold by President Ahmadinezhad.

‘Through the appropriate initiatives of the president – presently – the money reserves have been converted to gold so that we do not face any difficulties in the future,’ Mojtaba Samareh Hashemi was quoted as saying by news agencies.