Saturday, 22 February, 2020

We shot down Ukrainian plane to defend Iran's security - Ayatollah

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced that impeachment charges against President Donald Trump will be sent to the Senate next week READ MOREDemocrat Nancy Pelosi sees enough testimony against Trump ahead of Senate
Travis Berry | 18 January, 2020, 00:40

Khamenei has always been skeptical of the nuclear deal, arguing that the United States can not be trusted.

The last time Ayatollah Ali Khamenei led Friday prayers at Tehran's Mosalla mosque was in February 2012, on the 33rd anniversary of the Islamic revolution and at a time of crisis over the Iran nuclear issue.

Khamenei's sermon comes at a tumultuous moment for Iran, which had seemed headed for conflict earlier in January after Soleimani was killed on January 3 outside Baghdad airport, prompting retaliatory strikes against Iraqi bases housing USA troops.

"These American clowns, who with lies and utter evil, say they stand by the Iranian people, they should see who the Iranian people are", the supreme leader told a crowd of thousands.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday accused the governments of Britain, France and Germany of being "American lackeys" in the face of USA pressure over the nuclear accord.

Protesters also plan on denouncing Klobuchar's attempts to further legitimize the targeting of Iran. The U.S. refusal to extradite the Shah back to Iran resulted in the captured U.S. embassy staff being held for 444 days.

A decision that confirms the climate of deep tension that reigns in the country, the scene in recent days of numerous protests following the shooting down of the Ukrainian airliner by the army in the frantic night of attacks against USA targets in Iraq. While describing the latter as a tragedy and expressing condolences to the primarily Iranian victims and their families, Khamenei otherwise stuck to the hardest of hard lines, ruling out any new talks with the Trump administration, which he derided as a bunch of "clowns".

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"Resistance must continue until the region is completely freed from the enemy's tyranny", Khamenei said reiterating his message earlier. "Those placing hopes in recent protests in Iran to shake-or even overturn-the system underestimate its power and ruthlessness". He was blamed for the killing of hundreds of American soldiers by Iran-backed militias in the years after the 2003 USA -led invasion of Iraq. In part of the sermon delivered in Arabic, he said the "real punishment" was to force the United States to withdraw from the Middle East.

In a speech, Trump said no American was injured during the strike, firing at least a dozen rockets. Both Ayatollah Khamenei and US President Donald J. Trump are proud to appear uncompromising in public.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei used his sermon to defend the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as it faces a growing backlash after it admitted to mistakenly shooting down a Ukrainian passenger plane and killing 176 people. Though no group claimed responsibility, American jets pounded five separate bases of Kataib Hezbollah, an Iraqi government-sanctioned militia of the Shia Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), killing 25 and wounding another 51. The current lull could evaporate. But now Iraq has started to fear that the death of Qasim may be overshadowed by him.

"One of the most concerning lines in Khamenei's Friday sermon was his insinuation that the United States wants to break up Iraq".

The speech comes almost two weeks after Khamenei openly wept during prayers for Soleimani, who was killed in a USA drone strike in Baghdad. The 80-year-old leader openly wept at the funeral of Gen. Qassem Soleimani and vowed "harsh retaliation" against the United States. 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.

All that said, few are predicting the imminent collapse of the Iranian leadership.

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