TEHRAN, June 4 (UPI) -- Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, said Thursday "beautiful speeches" cannot overcome Muslims' hatred of the United States.
Khamenei spoke at a ceremony in Tehran marking the 20th anniversary of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei's death, The Washington Post reported. He delivered his speech, heard on television and by several thousand people at the ceremony, shortly before U.S. President Barack Obama spoke in Cairo on the U.S. relationship with Muslims.
"People of the Middle East, the Muslim region and North Africa -- people of these regions -- hate America from the bottom of their heart," Khamenei said. "For a long time, these people have witnessed aggressive actions by America, and that's why they hate them."
Obama said the United States and Muslim world need a "new beginning" but Khamenei said any change would take more than "beautiful speeches."
Khamenei denied Iran is seeking nuclear weapons, describing them as contrary to the principles of Islam. In his speech, Obama said Iran has a right to a nuclear power program and warned of the danger of a Middle East arms race.