Khamenei: 40 Years After U.S. Embassy Takeover

On November 3, Iran’s supreme leader renewed the ban on talks with the United States. “No problem will be solved with meetings and with negotiations,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told students on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the takeover of the U.S. embassy in Tehran. “The same wolfish qualities which existed in those days, exist in the United States in the present time as well,” he said, recalling U.S. support for the shah. “Throughout the history of U.S.-Iran relations, the United States has always shown enmity towards Iran.” 


Khamenei alleged that the United States is still seeking to “infiltrate Iran.” “When it is said that we should not negotiate, this is one of the requirements and tools for preventing the U.S. from entering the country,” he said. Khamenei further warned that if Iranian officials had “shown naivety” by negotiating with Americans, Washington still would not have decreased pressure on Tehran. On the contrary, “new expectations and impositions would be brought up.” he added. The following is an excerpt from his speech. 

As for America, I will tell you that America has not changed in any way since the Aban of 1343 (1964)– during which time, the regime installed by the U.S., drove our dear Imam [Khomeini] into exile - until the Aban of 1398 (2019), which is the present time. America is the same America. The same wolfish qualities which existed in those days, exist in the US in the present time as well. The same global and international dictatorship exists in the US today as well. That day, the US was an international dictator who had certain gendarmes in different parts of the world. Its regional gendarme and mercenary was Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. In other parts of the world, there were other individuals. Today, the same dictatorship exists, but with newer methods and tools.

There is the same wolfish quality, the same international dictatorship, the same malevolence and the same desire for having no limits – it has no limits and borders. The US is the same US. Of course, it has weakened today. The US has become weaker compared to the year 1343, but it has also become wilder and more brazen. This is what the US is.

America showed enmity towards Iran. Throughout the history of US-Iran relations, the US has always shown enmity towards Iran. This even happened during the time of the taghuti regime. Its enmity towards Iran before the Revolution involved overthrowing the national government in the year 1332. An American agent came to Tehran with a suitcase full of dollars and he went and hid in the British Embassy. From there, he began spreading money and distributing dollars in order to employ certain individuals, launch a coup and overthrow the national government.

Of course, that administration was to blame too. Its mistake was that it placed too much trust in the US, but the Americans did that anyway and they installed a corrupt administration which was dependent on them. There is no worse form of enmity. They dominated our armed forces, our oil, the policies of our country and our culture: it was a complete domination. This continued from 1332 – when the coup d’état of the 28th of Mordad took place – to the victory of the Revolution in the year 1357. Such was its enmity towards the Iranian nation and our country at that time.

And after the Revolution, it is clear how it has shown enmity. Until today, it either issues threats and imposes sanctions or utters hostile words, creates problems and tries to infiltrate the country. They have always been on bad terms towards Iran and the Iranians.

Some people distort history, the Americans themselves do that. The year when I was president and went to the UN, a then well-known journalist in the US interviewed me at the UN, citing the capturing of the embassy – the Den of Espionage – as the starting point for the differences between Iran and the US. He said, since your youth went and captured the embassy, Iran and US have begun to have problems. However, this is distorting history and this is not the truth of the matter. The differences between the Iranian nation and the US began on the 28th of Mordad and even before that. On the 28th of Mordad, the differences reached their peak. It was they who behaved in a treacherous and malicious way by making the Iranian nation suffer from a corrupt and dependent regime as a result of a coup d’état. That was not a minor event!

For many years, our country would be trampled upon by the regime which had been installed by the US. So, the starting point for the hostilities was the 28th of Mordad of 1332, it was then. Of course, prior to that, there were certain plans as well. Truman’s plans during our teenage – I remember it to some extent – had a friendly appearance, but were hostile in reality. However, on the 28th of Mordad, everything became clear. They came to the middle of the arena and they launched a coup d’état in an independent country with a national and popular administration which had trusted the Americans – Mosaddeq trusted the Americans and he was punished for that – and they installed a corrupt, malevolent, oppressive and cruel regime.

On those days, the Iranian nation adopted a realistic position towards the US based on their heart-felt experiences. Notice that our magnanimous Imam said in the year 1342 – ten years after the coup d’état of the 28th of Mordad during which time Islamic and popular activities had already begun – that the Iranian nation hates nobody in the world more than the US President. Imam knew his people in the year 1342. That was the state of affairs.

The Islamic Revolution was basically against America. You dear youth should know this. When the Islamic Revolution achieved victory in the year 1357 with the leadership of Imam and with the presence of the masses of the people – who entered the arena, who destroyed the corrupt monarchy and who established the Islamic Republic – it was basically against the US. The slogans of the people and of the groups who would pour onto the streets, embracing danger by doing so, were anti-American slogans. And during this time span – from 1357 to the present time: this has lasted 41 years - the US has done whatever he could in showing enmity towards the Iranian nation. It has done whatever it could and whatever it knew, against the Iranian nation.

These plots include coups d’états, various schemes, secession plots, sieges and the like- and you are witness to all these. Thankfully, today’s youth are smart. During our youth, young individuals were not aware of the developments like you are. You can see that the Americans have done whatever they could during this period. They have shown enmity as much as they could.


Of course, we did not sit idle either. We too have done whatever we could against the US. We have managed to corner the opponent in the ring on certain occasions and it has failed to defend itself. This is completely clear and the whole world sees it.

I want you youth to pay attention to the fact that the most important response that the Islamic Republic has given to the US in the face of its plots, is that it has shut the door to another political infiltration by the US. The Islamic Republic has shut the door to re-entrance and re-infiltration of the US inside the country and in the foundations of the country. When it is said that we should not negotiate, this is one of the requirements and tools for preventing the US from entering the country.

Of course, this is very painful for the Americans. Arrogant and conceited America – which makes the heads and officials of other countries feel obliged to it just for agreeing to meet with it – has been insisting for many years on negotiating with the heads of the Islamic Republic and the Islamic Republic refuses to do so. This is very difficult for the US.

This signifies that there is a nation and government in the world which does not accept and give in to the usurping and taghuti power of the US and its international dictatorship. This ban on negotiations is not merely an emotional course of action. There is a solid logic behind it as it shuts the door to its infiltration, it shows the power and magnificence of the Islamic Republic to the world and it makes the empty greatness of the other side visible to the whole world because it does not sit at the negotiating table with them.

Some people think that negotiating with the US solves the problems of the country. This is a grave mistake. They are one hundred percent wrong! The other side considers Iran’s accepting and sitting at the negotiating table as bringing the Islamic Republic to its knees. It wants to say that they have finally managed to bring Iran to its knees with severe sanctions until it agreed to sit at the negotiating table with them. It wants to say this to the whole world. It wants to prove that the “maximum pressure” policy is a correct policy that has worked because it has succeeded in bringing the Islamic Republic to the negotiating table. And I will tell you that it wants to say that the US gave no concessions to the Islamic Republic.

If the officials of the Islamic Republic had shown naivety by sitting at the negotiating table with American officials, they would surely and definitely have gained nothing. Neither sanctions nor pressures would have decreased. As soon as they negotiated with them, new expectations and impositions would be brought up. For example, they would say that we should have such and such missiles, that we should not have missiles and that the range of our missiles should not exceed 100, 150 kilometers.

Today, by Allah’s favor, our youth build exact missiles whose range is 2,000 kilometers. At 2,000 kilometers, they strike every target with an error range of one meter! Well, this is very difficult for them. They say that we should destroy these missiles, that their range should not exceed 150 kilometers. They are bringing up these matters. If you accept these terms, you will be ruined! If you do not accept them, it will be the same story you see. They will begin to say the same things that they say today: that the other side will not give any concessions to you.

The Cuba and North Korea experiences are in front of us. They went as far as exchanging words of love with North Korean officials, let alone negotiations. He said, “I love you”, the other one said, “me too” [Audience laughs]! What was the result? They did not reduce even a little bit of the sanctions! They are like this. They do not give concessions. They make you abandon your position and then they show that they have brought Iran to its knees and that they have succeeded in their maximum pressure policy. Then they will say that we Iranians gained nothing in the end. This is how negotiations work.

Amid this, certain governments – such as the French government – act as intermediaries, insisting on this matter by writing letters, making phone calls, visiting our country and organizing numerous meetings in New York. They insist that we should meet with the Americans.

The French president said, if you have one meeting with them, all your problems will be solved! One really wonders at this.  Either he is very naïve or we should say that they are collaborating with the Americans! It is one of these situations.

No problem will be solved with meetings and with negotiations. No problem whatsoever! I was confident that this would not be practical, but in order to clarify the situation for everyone, I said fine, they should correct the mistake that they made by leaving the Bar-Jaam [JCPOA] and they should return to it. They should lift all sanctions and then they should participate in the Bar-Jaam group. If they do this, I have no objections. I knew that this would not happen. Well, it did not happen and they did not accept it.

If they are not sick and if they are sincere, they should accept these terms, but they do not want to solve any problem! They will bring up new demands which will surely not be accepted by the Iranian side. It is clear how the situation is. They will say that we should not be active in the region, that we should not help the Resistance, that we should not be present in such and such a country and that we should not have missiles. They will impose such things and they will gradually touch on other areas.

They will say that we should not insist on the issue of hijab and on the issue of religious rules. They will bring up such demands because there is no limit to their demands! A few years ago, I asked officials in this very Hussainiyah to show me the point where the US will stop and where he will not make new demands. Their demands are infinite!

They are after restoring the condition that existed before the Revolution in the country. This Revolution was against the US. They want to restore the same condition, but the Revolution is much stronger. The Islamic Republic is much more powerful than such claims. By Allah’s favor, the willpower ruling over the Islamic Republic is made of steel and it has firm determination. It will not allow the US to return to the country with these tricks. Well for the moment, this much is enough for the US [Audience laughs]!