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ayatollah Ali KhameneiThe United States has a “controlling and meddlesome” attitude towards Iran and would overthrow the Islamic republic’s government if it were capable of doing so. Or, at least, so says Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran on Saturday according to a report in The Guardian.

The Ayatollah was giving a speech to commemorate Iran’s Islamic Revolution – 35 years ago, in 1979. According to the Express Tribune, Khomenei further said:

“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.”

Khamenei’s incendiary remarks come in the wake of announcements that Iran plans to send warships close to US territorial waters, in apparent response to US naval activity in the Persian Gulf.

In addition to suggesting that the United States would overthrow the government of Iran if they could, Khamenei encouraged the Iranian government not to concern itself with economic sanctions laid on it by the United States and other western nations, but to focus on Iran’s “infinite indigenous potentials.”

iran warshipThe United States and Iran have not had official diplomatic relations since the 1980 Iranian hostage crisis, in which Iranian students took over and occupied the US embassy in Tehran and held 52 Americans hostage during the latter days of the Carter administration. The Iranians held the diplomats hostage in protest to the United States’ welcoming of the deposed Iranian shah. President Obama has repeatedly expressed a desire to hold bilateral talks to the end of opening diplomatic ties with Iran.

These latest provocations play out against the backdrop of Iran’s controversial nuclear development program. Iranian officials have repeatedly claimed that their purposes for wanting to develop nuclear power are purely peaceful. The United States, Israel and their allies have questioned the Islamic republic’s motives, particularly in light of comments Iranian leaders have made suggesting that the nation of Israel should be destroyed and recent weapons tests the Islamic nation has conducted.

At the time of this writing, there has not been an official US response to Iran’s latest saber rattling. However, one US Department of Defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, had this to say to CNN:

“It’s important to understand that, at this point, we have an announcement not a deployment. They’ve stated this aspiration before. Freedom of the seas doesn’t just apply to fish. It applies to all maritime nations, all navies, everywhere — so long as they understand the responsibilities which come with that freedom. So if they chose to send their ships to the Atlantic, I’m sure they won’t be surprised to find many, many others already there.”

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