Iran sees no change in U.S. policy: Khamenei

TEHRAN Sat Mar 21, 2009 4:16am EDT

A member of basij militia rests under a portrait of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at an unknown martyrs' shrine at a war memorial site near the Iraqi border 1,257 km (786 miles) southwest of Tehran in Khoozestan province March 18, 2009. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl

A member of basij militia rests under a portrait of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at an unknown martyrs' shrine at a war memorial site near the Iraqi border 1,257 km (786 miles) southwest of Tehran in Khoozestan province March 18, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl

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TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's supreme leader said on Saturday he saw no change in U.S. policy toward the Islamic Republic, a day after U.S. President Barack Obama issued an unprecedented videotaped appeal to the country.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei sharply criticized U.S. behavior toward Iran since its 1979 Islamic revolution and said the United States was "hated in the world" and should stop interfering in other countries' internal affairs.

"They give the slogan of change but in practice no change is seen ... We haven't seen any change," Khamenei said in a televised speech to mark the Iranian New Year.

He was speaking in the northeastern city of Mashhad, a day after Obama offered Iran a "new beginning" of diplomatic engagement between the two old foes.

Khamenei said a change of U.S. "words" was not enough and added: "We will watch and we will judge (the new U.S. administration) ... You change, our behavior will change."

(Reporting by Zahra Hosseinian; Writing by Fredrik Dahl, Editing by Katie Nguyen)

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