UK 'cannot be trusted' says Iran's supreme leader before branding Trump 'clown'

17 January 2020, 20:00

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader. Picture: PA

Iran’s supreme leader said President Donald Trump is a “clown” who only pretends to support the Iranian people, as he addressed Friday prayers in Tehran for the first time since 2012.

The ayatollah also said European nations including the UK "cannot be trusted" but Tehran is not against negotiating with anyone - except the US, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Mr Trump will “push a poisonous dagger” into the nation’s back.

.Iran's supreme leader says when his country retaliated against the US killing of top general Qassem Soleimani, it was a "day of God".

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is delivering the sermon at Friday prayers in Tehran on Friday morning for the first time for 8 years.

The last time he did so was in 2012 to mark the 33rd anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. He also led prayers in 2009 amid protests that erupted after disputed presidential elections.

“The fact that Iran has the power to give such a slap to a world power shows the hand of God,” the Ayatollah said, adding the targeted drone killing of general Qassem Soleimani showed Washington’s “terrorist nature”.

Thousands gathered to hear him speak inside a large prayer hall in central Tehran and packed the area and streets outside the building, chanting “Death to America”.

Tensions between Iran and the United States have steadily escalated since President Donald Trump withdrew the US from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, which had imposed restrictions on its nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.

The White House has since imposed crippling sanctions on Iran, including its vital oil and gas industry, pushing the country into an economic crisis that has ignited several waves of sporadic, leaderless protests.

Mr Trump has openly encouraged the protesters, even tweeting in Farsi, hoping that the protests and the sanctions will bring about fundamental change in a long-time adversary.

Mr Khamenei last delivered a Friday sermon in February 2012, when he called Israel a “cancerous tumour” and vowed to support anyone confronting it.

He also warned against any US strikes on Iran over its nuclear programme, saying the US would be damaged “10 times over”.