Iran's Khamenei Attacks 'American Clowns' While Holding a Gun During Friday Prayer

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The last time Khamenei led Friday prayers in Tehran was in 2012 on the 33rd anniversary of the country's Islamic Revolution.

Khamenei described the protestors as "stooges of the United States".

His Friday appearance comes at a tumultuous moment for the country which had seemed headed for conflict earlier in January after the United States killed its top general Qasem Soleimani in a drone strike in Baghdad, prompting Iran to retaliate against U.S. military targets in Iraq with a volley of missiles.

At least 11 United States soldiers were injured in the missile attack on U.S. military bases in Iraq on January 8 in response to the

Earlier this week, Iranian authorities said a number of people had been arrested over the accidental shooting of the Ukrainian airliner.

Iran's supreme leader called Trump a "clown" and said the United States president is preparing to stab Iranians in the back with a "poisonous dagger".

Protesters also plan on denouncing Klobuchar's attempts to further legitimize the targeting of Iran.

Maximum pressure was supposed to moderate Iranian behavior and force the Islamic Republic to capitulate to a litany of demands.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran seemed to subside in the wake of the accidental downing of a Ukrainian passenger airliner hours after Iran's retaliatory strikes, as Tehran was on high alert for USA reprisals.

"The Quds Force is a humanitarian organisation with human values that protects people across the region", Khamenei said.

Praising the slain general, Khamenei said his actions beyond Iran's borders were in the service of the "security" of the nation and that the people are in favor of "firmness" and "resistance" in the face of enemies. "Those placing hopes in recent protests in Iran to shake-or even overturn-the system underestimate its power and ruthlessness". The soldiers injured during the Iranian attack were reported to have been hospitalized in Kuwait and Germany.

As public sentiment in Iran turned against the USA, with millions taking to the streets to mourn Soleimani's death, the news was soon sidelined when a Ukrainian passenger airplane crashed in Tehran just hours after the missile attacks, killing all 176 passengers and crew members on board. Since Trump's withdrawal, he has said there can be no negotiations with the United States. The episode has weakened Ayatollah Khamenei's position at home.

On 27 December, a US contractor was killed and three American service members wounded in a rocket attack at an isolated base in Iraq. Khamenei said the strike had dealt a "blow to America's image" as a superpower. The current lull could evaporate.

"Once again, Iraqi and Iranian blood was shed and mixed together in the fields", he said, adding the assassination of Gen. Soleimani had resulted in the failure of foreign-backed plans to sow division between the two countries. But now Iraq has started to fear that the death of Qasim may be overshadowed by him. "Soleimani, -killed-in-US-raid-on-Baghdad-48935.html" class="local_link" >killing of General Qasem Soleimani, head of the Qods Force.

"The project on which Soleimani and al-Muhandis were both working when they were killed was the establishment within Iraq of a state-within-a-state by institutionalizing Iranian-supported militias loyal to Tehran's clerical leadership". By formally accusing Iran of not meeting its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, that complaint triggers a dispute resolution process - and if that fails, United Nations sanctions on Iran, including an arms embargo, will likely return. It's time to lift the sanctions and say no to war with Iran. President Trump's January 14 speech to his supporters was equally uncompromising.

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