Khamenei stressed he would remain in the public eye if war came, unlike U.S. officials whom he accused of fleeing for cover after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.
"If this nation is tested by a bitter experience, I will wear battle fatigues and will be ready to sacrifice myself at the head of the nation," he told pilgrims in the northeastern holy city of Mashhad.
"After September 11, there was no news of U.S. President (George W. Bush) and his deputies for two or three days. They went into hiding. I am not like that," he added in the speech broadcast on state television.
"It is a fiction that Iran is making an atom bomb, it is not true," Khamenei said. "It is an excuse. If not this, Americans will find another excuse for conspiring against Iran, such as terrorism or human rights."
Iran Arrests 80 Evangelical Christians
With The Knowledge of the Cleric
cross posted at Bittersweet