Saturday, March 21, 2009

Iran ready to change if US leads way: Khamenei

Updated at: 1620 PST, Saturday, March 21, 2009

TEHRAN: Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Saturday the Islamic republic is ready to change if US President Barack Obama leads the way by changing American attitude towards his country.

"If you change your attitude, we will change our attitude," Khamenei said in a groundbreaking address to thousands of Iranians in the holy city of Mashhad which was broadcast on state television.

Speaking a day after Obama offered Tehran a "new beginning" to turn back the tide on decades of mutual animosity, Khamenei said however Iran is yet to see any change in Washington's attitude towards Tehran.

"We have no experience with the new American government and the new American president. We will observe them and we will judge," he said.

Khamenei accused Washington of having had a "hostile" attitude towards Tehran since the Islamic revolution toppled the US-backed shah in 1979.

Highlighting the three-decades old animosity, Khamenei said Iran would not forget American support to Saddam Hussein during the 1980-88 war between Iran and Iraq or the shooting down of an Iranian passenger plane in 1988 by a US warship that killed all 290 passengers on board.

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