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Iran offers rare praise for 'the Great Satan' (+video)

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Khamenei’s praise of Obama is “also a sign that he fears the possibility of an attack, otherwise, it is out of character for Khamenei,” wrote Iran News Now. “Combo of feeling secure internally but insecure externally has led to Khamenei begrudgingly giving a qualified nod to Obama.”

Obama has in recent days sought to dampen war talk from Republican presidential candidates, Congress, and Israeli leaders and their supporters at a 13,000-strong conference of the pro-Israel AIPAC lobby in Washington.

'Not a game'

“This is not a game. There is nothing casual about it,” Obama said on Tuesday, scolding Republicans for “bluster” and “big talk” about launching strikes against Iran to halt Iran’s nuclear efforts. The US president said he believed there remained a “window of opportunity where this can still be resolved diplomatically.”

Khamenei, meanwhile, has only rarely in recent years commented directly on words or gestures from the United States – which Iran has lambasted as an arch enemy since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Initial American gestures in the first months of the Obama administration were cautiously noted by Khamenei, who did not rule out moving toward some kind of détente but couched his response in suspicion that the outstretched American hand was a clenched fist wrapped in velvet.

Not a day has gone by since 1979, Khamenei has often declared, when the US has not sought to undermine the Islamic regime. Chants of “Death to America” still ring out at Friday prayers across the country, and American and Israeli flags are burned and trampled upon during key revolution anniversary dates.

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