Khamenei: Iran will attack to defend itself

Khamenei’s remarks, which marked the Iranian New Year, Nowruz, came just after President Obama delivered his own message for Nowruz.

Obama said in the video message to the Iranian people “there is no reason for the United States and Iran to be divided from one another.”

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But he also criticized the Iranian government for censoring information on the Internet and on television.

“Because of the actions of the Iranian regime, an electronic curtain has fallen around Iran — a barrier that stops the free flow of information and ideas into the country, and denies the rest of the world the benefit of interacting with the Iranian people, who have so much to offer,” said Obama, who also discussed the “virtual” Iranian embassy the United States has created.

Obama did not mention Iran’s nuclear program, which has escalated tensions between the two countries as the United States has enacted economic sanctions against Iran and Iran has threatened to retaliate. Washington and its allies suspect Iran is looking to build nuclear weapons, while Iran says its program is for peaceful purposes only.

Khamenei, who last week praised Obama for saying that a window for diplomacy still existed for a solution to the nuclear crisis, said Tuesday that Washington should have a “respectful attitude” toward Iran, which he said could be beneficial, according to the AP.