TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian leaders said Wednesday that President Obama follows the "crooked ways" of his predecessor, repeated earlier warnings that Iranian missiles could reach Israel and reiterated that the Holocaust was "a lie."
Iran's president and other officials have at times appeared to welcome Obama's proposal for greater dialogue, but the remarks Wednesday suggested that Iranian positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other issues would pose obstacles. The comments were also a reminder that Iran's complex leadership structure brings together clerics and political leaders with sometimes sharply differing views.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is Iran's supreme leader and who has the final say over foreign policy, told representatives of several pro-Palestinian groups at a conference in Tehran that Obama had adopted former President George W. Bush's support for Israel, which Khamenei called a "cancerous tumor."
Iranian leaders, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have repeatedly said they are ready for "real" talks with the Obama administration but say that they first want to see a significant change in U.S. policies.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton swiped hard at Iran on Wednesday, accusing its hard-line leaders of fomenting divisions in the Arab world, promoting terrorism, posing threats to Israel and Europe, and seeking to "intimidate as far as they think their voice can reach."