Tehran sending ‘message’ as warships approach US
Washington has ‘controlling, meddlesome attitude’ toward us, says supreme leader Ali Khamenei.
Iranian naval fleets were on their way across the Atlantic Ocean and headed toward the US, the Fars news agency reported on Saturday.
“Iran’s military fleet is approaching the United States’ maritime borders, and this move has a message,” Adm. Afshin Rezayee Haddad of Iran’s Northern Navy Fleet was quoted as saying.
According to Fars, Iran had first warned the US of its plans to deploy its naval forces along US marine borders “in the next few years” in September 2012.
Then, Iran’s Navy Commander R.-Adm. Habibollah Sayyari said the move would counter US presence in its waters in the Persian Gulf.
Fars first reported on an Iranian Navy fleet of warships making its way across the Atlantic Ocean in January 2014. At the time, they reported that the ships would sail for at least three months.
Hours earlier, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Saturday the United States would overthrow the Iranian government if it could, adding Washington had a “controlling and meddlesome” attitude towards the Islamic Republic, Iranian media reported.
In a speech to mark the 35th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Khamenei, the most powerful figure in Iran, added that officials seeking to revive the economy should not rely on an eventual lifting of sanctions but rather on homegrown innovation.
“American officials publicly say they do not seek regime change in Iran. That’s a lie. They wouldn’t hesitate a moment if they could do it,” he was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency.
Khamenei made no mention of talks between Iran and world powers intended to settle a decade-old dispute about the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.
But he reiterated that in dealing with “enemies,” Iran should be prepared to change tactics but not compromise on its main principles.
“The solution to our economic problems is not looking out and having the sanctions lifted,” he added. “My advice to our officials, as ever, is to rely on infinite indigenous potentials.”
He added: “Our [hostile] stance toward the United States is due to its controlling and meddlesome attitude.”
Khamenei’s comments about hostility reflect his long-standing animosity towards the United States, seen as the arch-enemy by Iranian authorities. The US and Iran have had no official ties since 1980 after Iranian students occupied the US embassy in Tehran, taking 52 diplomats hostage in protest against Washington’s admission of the former Shah after he was toppled by the Islamic Revolution.
But Khamenei has given his guarded support to the nuclear negotiations being led by the new reformist government of President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.