Friday, September 14, 2007

Telling It How He Sees It

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Friday U.S. President George W. Bush's Middle East policies had failed and he and others would one day be put on trial for "the tragedies they have created in Iraq."

"America has failed in Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine. America's policies have failed in the Middle East region," Khamenei told worshippers at Tehran University in a speech broadcast live on state television.

Washington accuses Shi'ite Muslim Iran of providing funds, arms and training to Iraqi Shi'ite militants and of supporting terrorism across the Middle East.

Iran denies the charge and blames the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 for the bloodshed between Iraq's majority Shi'ite and minority Sunni Arabs.

"I am certain that one day Bush and senior American officials will be tried in an international court for the tragedies they have created in Iraq," Khamenei said.

Thousands of people gathered in central Tehran to hear the supreme leader, who has the last say in all state matters, mark the first Friday prayer of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan.

"America's power in the region is waning ... they (U.S.) are looking forward to pulling out of Iraq," Khamenei said.

The mass audience, including senior state officials, clerics and wheelchair-bound veterans of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, responded with chants of "Death to America. Islam is victorious."

Iran and the United States cut diplomatic ties shortly after Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution. They have held rounds of talks in Baghdad to find ways to restore security in Iraq but relations remain very strained.

Khamenei condemned the Middle East peace process, Israel and some European countries as well as the United States as he described a "psychological war" he said had been waged against the Islamic republic of Iran.


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