By NASSER KARIMI
The Associated Press
Friday, September 14, 2007; 3:52 PM
TEHRAN, Iran -- President Bush and other American officials will one day face trial just like deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein for "the catastrophes they caused in Iraq," Iran's supreme leader said Friday.
Speaking to thousands of worshippers during the first Friday prayer of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that Bush will be called to account for the U.S.-led invasion.
"A day will come that the current U.S. president and officials will be tried in an international supreme court for the catastrophes they caused in Iraq," he said.
"Americans will have to answer for why they don't end occupation of Iraq and why waves of terrorism and insurgency have overwhelmed the country," he added. "It will not be like this forever and some day they will be stopped as happened to Hitler, Saddam and certain other European leaders."
Bush painted quite a different picture Thursday, describing an Iraq on the mend.
"One year ago, much of Baghdad was under siege," Bush said in a televised speech from the Oval Office. "Today, most of Baghdad's neighborhoods are being patrolled by coalition and Iraqi forces who live among the people they protect. ... Sectarian killings are down. And ordinary life is beginning to return."
But Khamenei mocked the U.S., describing the recent congressional testimony of the top American officials in Iraq as a sign of weakness and the failure of American policy in the war torn country.
"More than four years have passed since the occupation of Iraq and today everyone knows that America has failed and is frantically looking for a way out," he said.
In their testimony Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker raised allegations _ denied by Iran _ of Iranian meddling in Iraq by financial and military support of militias and insurgent groups. They warned that the U.S. was already embroiled in a proxy war with the Islamic republic.
Despite U.N. sanctions and efforts to isolate Iran internationally, the country is flourishing, maintained Khamenei.
"Today we are in a better political position compared to four to five years ago," he said. "We have moved forward economically and the spiritual preparedness and happiness of our nation has improved."
"A nation like ours, without an atomic bomb and not as wealthy as these other powerful governments, has foiled a whole series of their conspiracies and forced them to give up and withdraw," he added.
The U.S. accuses Iran of secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons and has called for further international sanctions against the country. Iran denies the charge.
Iran and the U.S. have not had diplomatic relations since Washington cut its ties with Tehran after Iranian students stormed the U.S. embassy there in 1979.