Iran’s Supreme Leader Praises U.S. ‘Occupy’ Movement

By Patrick Burke | August 30, 2012 | 11:10am EDT

Iran's Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (AP Photo)

( – The Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – the “supreme leader” of Iran –  praised America’s “Occupy Wall Street” movement on Thursday, calling it a reflection of people around the world who are “losing their patience” with the dominance of the United States and Israel in the international community.

“Everybody has become tired of this faulty international structure,” Khamenei said in his inaugural address to the Non-Aligned Summit, a gathering of 120 nations now taking place in Tehran.

“The 99-percent movement of the American people against the centers of wealth and power in America and the widespread protests of the people in Western Europe against the economic policies of their governments show that the people are losing their patience with this situation,” Iran’s Fars news agency quoted him as saying.

(The Occupy movement, born in lower Manhattan one year ago, claims to speak for the “99 percent that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1 percent. During the fall of 2011, the Occupy movement was charged with antisemitism after several videos showed protesters denouncing Jews.)

“It is necessary to remedy this irrational situation,” Khamenei said, adding that “firm” bonds between NAM  member states “can play an important role” in minimizing U.S.-Israeli influence.

Khamenei said the Non-Aligned Movement should take advantage of the “Islamic awakening” – also known as the Arab Spring—to boost its standing in global affairs.

“And finally, we should consider the Islamic Awakening in the region and the fall of the dictatorships in North Africa, which were dependent on America and were accomplices to the Zionist regime, as a great opportunity,” he said.

The ayatollah also emphasized Iran’s intention to proceed with its nuclear program: “I stress that the Islamic Republic has never been after nuclear weapons and that it will never give up the right of its people to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes,” he said.

Iran’s nuclear activities have been of international concern since the discovery in 2003 that Iran had concealed its nuclear activities for 18 years, in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Many countries contend that Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

The summit now taking place in Iran includes 120 developing nations that sought to remain outside the U.S. and Soviet spheres of influence during the Cold War.

U.N. chief meets with Khamenei

As previously reported, the leaders attending the NAM summit include U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, whose visit to Iran drew mild criticism from the U.S. State Department.

A State Department spokeswoman said earlier this month that Ban’s visit "would not send a good signal." The U.N. depends on American taxpayers for more than one-fifth of its budget.

Ban arrived in Tehran on Wednesday, where he attended a series of meetings with Iranian officials, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

“In all these meetings, the Secretary-General conveyed the clear concerns and expectations of the international community on the issues for which cooperation and progress are urgent for both regional stability and the welfare of the Iranian people,” a U.N. spokesperson told a news briefing in New York.

“These include Iran’s nuclear programme, terrorism, human rights and the crisis in Syria,” he added.

“This is very important opportunity for Iran to play a very important role as moderate and constructive leader of the international community in addressing all the challenges,” Ban told reporters on his arrival in Tehran.

The 16th annual NAM summit began on Sunday, Aug. 26 and will conclude on Friday.

The Iranian government said that by hosting the summit -- which includes not only Ban but many heads of state -- it is showing the world that U.S.-led efforts to isolate Iran have failed miserably.

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