Iran's supreme leader said on Thursday the United States was "deeply hated" in the Middle East.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, speaking on the same day U.S. President Barack Obama was due to give a major speech to the Islamic world in Cairo, said the hatred felt toward America could not be changed with "slogans" but that action was needed.
"The nations of this part of the world ... deeply hate America," Khamenei said.
"Even if they give sweet and beautiful (speeches) to the Muslim nation ... that will not create change," he said in the televised speech. "Action is needed."
His speech in Tehran marked the 20th anniversary of the death of his predecessor, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic.
He also called Israel a "cancerous tumor in the heart" of the Muslim world.
Obama's speech later on Thursday is aimed at more than 1 billion Muslims across the world but choosing Cairo underscores his focus on the Middle East, where he faces some of his biggest foreign policy challenges.
Obama wants to build a conciliation of Muslim governments that will back his efforts to revive stalled Middle East peace talks and help the United States on Iran's nuclear programme, which Tehran says is peaceful.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 04 Haziran 2009, 12:32