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Iran Supreme Leader Responds To Obama's New Year Message

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addresses the nation on the occasion of Norouz.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has responded dismissively to U.S. President Barack Obama's Persian New Year (Norouz) message.

Khamenei, who holds the final word on political and religious matters under Iran's postrevolutionary constitution, said the Obama administration "claimed interest in just and fair relations" but revealed the "opposite" in its actions.

Obama on March 20 pledged to "sustain our commitment to a more hopeful future for the Iranian people" despite "differences" with the Iranian government. He stressed that a U.S. offer of diplomatic dialogue still stands.

Khamenei's remarks were carried on state television as part of his New Year's message.

Last year, just two months after taking office, Obama used a Norouz message to urge Iranians to seek a "new beginning."

compiled from Reuters and RFE/RL reports