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Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei calls Trump a ‘clown,’ defends Iran’s…

by Ace Damon
Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei calls Trump a 'clown,' defends Iran's...

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The supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called President Donald Trump a "clown" in defending Iran's armed forces after he mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane, in a relatively rare public speech that took place when he led the prayers of Friday in Tehran.

The last time Khamenei delivered a sermon to the crowd during Friday prayers was in 2012, on the 33rd anniversary of Iran's Islamic Revolution. The supreme leader called for "national unity" and described the accidental crash of Ukraine International flights 752 Airlines over Iran as a "bitter" tragedy, but one that should not overshadow the "sacrifice" of one of its top commanders, killed in a US air strike. in Iraq days before.

The Revolutionary Guard of Iran Corp. shot down Ukrainian planes just hours after Iranian missiles attacked U.S. forces at two bases in Iraq, which was retaliation for the assassination of Iran's General Qasem Soleimani, Qasem Soleimani, near Baghdad, under the Trump administration.

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All 176 passengers and crew on board the Ukrainian commercial plane were killed. No one died in Iran's attacks on American troops in Iraq. However, the Pentagon said on Thursday at least 11 Americans were injured. Trump said in a speech to the nation on January 8 that "no American was injured in last night's attack by the Iranian regime. We have not suffered casualties, all of our soldiers are safe and only minimal damage has been suffered on our military bases".

Fall:11 US soldiers wounded after Iranian missile attack

In his speech on Friday, Khamenei attacked Trump and the United States, calling Soleimani's death a "cowardly act", while Iran's response "struck America's image" as a great power. He reiterated his vow to force American troops out of the region. About 62,000 US military personnel are deployed across the Middle East on land and sea, from airports in Turkey to a large naval base in the Gulf of Bahrain state.

Iranian officials initially denied shooting down Ukraine's plane, but later turned it around after increasing international pressure. Earlier in the week, Iran announced that it had made arrests in connection with the incident, but did not provide further details.

Tensions in the Middle East:Iran claims revenge for Soleimani. US Navy is still a target

A senior Iranian air force commander previously publicly acknowledged that a member of the Iranian armed forces under his command fired a missile at the plane, thinking the country was being attacked by American forces after the attack in Iraq. Amirali Hajizadeh said in an interview in Tehran on January 11 that the man who fired the missile had only 10 seconds to make a decision. "Unfortunately, he made a bad decision," said the head of the aerospace division.

In Washington, the State Department announced another step in its campaign to squeeze Iran economically and politically. Brian Hook, Iran's special representative, said the United States would blacklist an important Iranian general whom he accused of overseeing a massacre that killed more than 100 Iranian protesters last fall.

Hook said the Iranian general "oversaw the massacre of 148 helpless Iranians in the Mahshahr region" in November. The New York Times reported that members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard surrounded the protesters in a swamp and killed them.

Hook said the State Department was able to verify the account through videos and other information sent through a tip line created by the agency when the regime started cracking down on protests last year.

Hook said Iran's leaders are under intense domestic pressure, noting the widespread protests that followed the government's admission that it shot down the Ukrainian jet.

"The Iranian regime is facing a crisis of legitimacy and credibility," Hook said. "We hope this will deepen in 2020."

Tensions between Iran and the U.S. intensified after the Trump administration left a nuclear deal involving Iran and world powers. Since leaving the United States, Tehran has slowly taken steps to lessen its commitment to the deal and Washington says it is responsible for a series of attacks in the Persian Gulf on international oil ships, as well as energy-related infrastructure in Saudi Arabia.

Khamenei accused Washington of "lying" about its support for the Iranian people and said the US government would gladly "stab them with its poison dagger". He also gave a defiant tone to the Revolutionary Guard Corps' decision to take down the Ukrainian plane, saying the unit "kept Iran safe".

Iran's supreme leader, who has the final say in Iran's domestic and international affairs, added: "Our enemies were just as happy with the plane's crash as they were of our sadness." . "

Contributing: Deirdre Shesgreen

Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei calls Trump a 'clown,' defends Iran's...

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