Iran's Ayatollah Slams 'American Clowns' In Rare Friday Prayers Sermon

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Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a Friday sermon that Iran's missile strikes on USA targets in Iraq this month delivered a "slap on the face" to the United States, showing the Islamic Republic had divine support. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, saying its missile attack on US assets in Iraq had been a blow to America's dignity and its status as a superpower. Iran's leaders are locked in a contentious dispute with the USA, and they're facing public criticism at home after admitting that Iran accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing 176 people, most of whom were Iranian. Khamenei responded on January 17 by saying that "these American clowns lie in utter viciousness that they stand with the Iranian people", adding that if Washington stands by Iranians "it is only to stab them in the heart with [their] venomous daggers". The 80-year-old leader openly wept at the funeral of Soleimani and vowed "harsh retaliation" against the United States.

Iran's police denied firing at protesters.

As head of the Revolutionary Guard's elite Quds Force, Soleimani was the architect of Iran's regional military operations and its support for armed groups in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

But the ayatollah tried to rally support as he led Friday prayers in Tehran for the first time since 2012. The report found that as a result, Iran's reserves are expected to dip to $73 billion by March, totaling almost $40 billion in losses over two years.

Khamenei also criticized the U.K., France and Germany's attempt to apply pressure on the regime to adhere to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal as another means to distract from Tehran's perceived victory in its strike against the U.S. The three counties jointly announced this week that they "trigger the dispute mechanism" of the nuclear deal, which amounts to a formal accusation of Iran violating the terms of the agreement. "Lessons we learned. The Iranian people went through a lot", Khamenei said Friday.

Eleven American troops were treated for concussions after Iranian missiles struck two Iraqi bases where the servicemembers were stationed, the military said on Thursday, contradicting earlier statements by President Trump that no Americans had been injured.

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"The few hundred who insulted the picture of General Soleimani, are they the people of Iran, or this million-strong crowd in the streets?" he asked.

The Trump administration is dragging the United States into a war with Iran that could engulf the whole region and could quickly turn into a global conflict of unpredictable scope and the gravest consequences.

The animosity between Washington and Tehran has increased since Trump unilaterally withdrew from a landmark nuclear deal in 2018 and reimposed biting sanctions. "I think you can expect the president to continue communicating directly with Iranian people".

US President Donald Trump has warned Iraq that if the US exits their country, they will be ruined.

On Tuesday, Germany, the United Kingdom and France - the three European parties to the deal - announced they had triggered a dispute mechanism in response to the latest step back from the deal by Tehran.

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