Iran and the United States rang in the Persian new year Tuesday with distinctly different messages for the Iranian people.
President Barack Obama slammed the Islamic Republic's crackdown on electronic communications and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that Iran would not hesitate to strike back in the event of an attack on the Islamic republic.
The beginning of the year 1391 took Khamenei to the massive Imam Reza shrine complex in the eastern city of Mashhad, where thousands jammed the mosque to hear the nation's supreme leader.
Khamenei denied Iran has nuclear capability or that it is trying to develop atomic weapons. But he warned that Iran will defend itself if the United States or Israel attacks - words that only increase anxiety in Iran's nuclear showdown with world powers.
Sporadic chants of "Death to America" erupted during Khamenei's pauses in between his declarations of Iran's greatness and the West's inability to tear down the Islamic revolution's achievements.
Khamenei said the main reason for the West's enmity toward Iran has to do with its desire to control Iran's vast oil reserves.
"A nation's prowess all depends on energy, on oil," he said. "It's the Islamic Republic of Iran that they have a problem with because this republic has stood like a lion in their face."
Khamenei also urged Iranians to support domestic production to stave off the debilitating effects of international sanctions. He said the government must cooperate with local industries and financial institutions to boost production.
He urged Iranians to buy local - saying that Iranian-made products are just as good as foreign brands.
"You must seek Iran-made products," he said. "It's in your hands, the hands of the people. When you consume, consume indigenously."
Obama, on the other hand, used the holiday, known as Nowruz, to remind the world of the Tehran regime's attempts to curb the flow of information in and out of Iran.
"Like the iron curtain of the 20th century, an electronic curtain is descending as the Iranian regime attempts to control what its citizens see and hear,' Obama said in a video new year's message posted on YouTube in English, with Farsi and Arabic subtitles.
"To the people of Iran, this holiday comes at a time of continued tension between our two countries," he said.FULL STORY