In this speech to Iranian regime loyalists from 2017, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei boasts of the Islamic Republic’s “powerful regional presence”, suggesting that “a European president” (a reference to France’s Emmanuel Macron) feels threatened by Iran’s new power across the Middle East, whilst, he adds, Americans “don’t dare” to object. As ever, Khamenei doesn’t mention or apparently consider the opinions of the region’s peoples.
Khamenei tells the audience, “One of the tools of our national power which I repeatedly mention, for example, is our presence in the region. The powerful presence of the Islamic Republic in the region is considered to be one of the tools of our national power as it shows how strong the Iranian nation is – and it really is – but they want to destroy this. A European president – not an American since Americans don’t dare to openly talk about our presence in the region, but a European president – said that they want to discuss Iran’s presence in the region! Well [addressing Western nations], why not discuss your presence in the region? Why do you want to have a presence in the region? This is one of the tools of national authority, but they want to forbid it to the Islamic Republic!
Another tool of national authority is the country’s defence capabilities, but they want to take this away from the Islamic Republic. You see, when they [Americans and Europeans] make noise and raise controversies over our missiles it’s because of this [Iran’s defence capabilities]. If a nation can respond to a distant missile launcher, it’s considered a national power. And today the Islamic Republic has this national power, but they seek to deprive the Islamic Republic of it.”