TEHRAN, March 22 (UPI) -- Iran's supreme leader has rejected a new offer of talks with the United States, saying Washington was plotting against Iran while extending an olive branch.
The U.S. government, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, isn't "in the position to support democracy and human rights," Iran's state-backed Fars News Agency reported Monday.
"You cannot talk about peace and friendship, and at the same time plot and plan sedition, and think that you can hurt the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran," Khamenei said Sunday in a televised address to mark Nowruz, the Persian new year.
In a message sent Saturday President Obama said Washington would maintain its "commitment to a more hopeful future for the Iranian people" despite its efforts to impose tougher U.N.-backed sanctions on Tehran after its refusal to halt uranium enrichment.
"Our offer of comprehensive diplomatic contacts and dialogue stands. Indeed, over the course of the last year, it is the Iranian government that has chosen to isolate itself, and to choose a self-defeating focus on the past over a commitment to build a better future," he said.
Khamenei said Iran's unity and perseverance would protect it from its enemies, Fars said.
"Victory and progress will make (the) future of the country ... more brilliant," Khamenei said. "They (enemies) tried much to divide the nation but to no avail ... . That's a big victory for the nation."