Published: Mon, January 20, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

Trump Mocks Iran's Khamenei After His Uncompromising Speech

Trump Mocks Iran's Khamenei After His Uncompromising Speech

Khamenei on Friday morning called Trump a "clown" who is only pretending to support Iran's people, and criticized the Trump-authorized killing of top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Their admission of responsibility triggered days of street protests in towns and cities across Iran which security forces dispersed with live ammunition and tear gas.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is set to deliver a Friday sermon in Tehran for the first time in nearly eight years, as the Islamic Republic grapples with the fallout from the targeted killing of its top general in a United States air strike and popular anger after it accidentally downed a Ukrainian passenger jet.

Khamenei's address came amid a deepening crisis for Iran as it grapples with unrest at home and rising pressure from overseas.

Under Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear work in return for sanctions relief. The standoff erupted into tit-for-tat military strikes this month, when Washington killed top commander Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike on January 3 and Iran launched missile strikes at USA targets in Iraq on January 8.

After days of denying a role in the plane crash, the Guards, a parallel military force answering directly to Khamenei that acts as guardian of the clerical system, finally admitted one of its air defence operators mistakenly shot down Ukraine Airlines International flight 752.

In his Friday speech, Khamenei described the Trump administration as "clowns", slammed Israel, mourned Soleimani, and extolled the combat and human assets of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, and recalled revenge for the assassination in the form of a missile attack on two Iraqi military bases that host USA forces.

Khamenei said Iran's enemies had tried to use the plane tragedy to undermine the Islamic republic.

Regarding the same logic, the Leader pointed out to the presence of about 10 million people in Iran and hundreds of thousands in Iraq and some other countries in the burial ceremony of martyr Qassem Soleimani, as well as the strong response to the USA military action, which undermined the American dignity. But Russia lent Iran some support over the airliner disaster, saying it had been shot down when Tehran was spooked by reports of advanced US stealth fighters in the area. "This information has yet to be verified, but I'd like to underline the edginess that always accompanies such situations", Lavrov said.

4 killed, 1 wounded in Utah home shooting
The incident, which is being investigated as a homicide, took place at a residence in Grantsville, Utah, Friday at about 7.30pm. Investigators are confident there was only one shooter and there is no further danger to the community, said police Cpl.

Unrest at home has added to global pressure on Iran over the plane disaster and its nuclear programme, which is at the heart of a long-running row between Tehran and the West.

Trump has openly encouraged the protesters - even tweeting in Farsi.

"The noble people of Iran-who love America-deserve a government that's more interested in helping them achieve their dreams than killing them for demanding respect".

"The so-called "Supreme Leader" of Iran, who has not been so Supreme lately, had some nasty things to say about the United States and Europe", Trump tweeted of Khamenei's comments earlier Friday in Tehran.

US President Donald Trump responded in a series of tweets to Khamenei's speech, claiming that the Iranian economy "is crashing, and their people are suffering", while urging the top leader to "be very careful with his words!". "He should be very careful with his words!"

"The plane crash was a bitter accident, it burned through our heart", Khamenei said in an address punctuated by cries of "Death to America" from the congregation. Protesters were beaten and video footage recorded gunshots, teargas and blood on the streets.

The demonstrations, mainly led by students, were quelled by a violent police crackdown and the deployment in force of riot police outside universities.

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