Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei calls Trump a ‘clown,’ defends Iran’s military

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Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called President Donald Trump a “clown” as he defended Iran’s military after it mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane, in a relatively rare public address that came as he led Friday prayers in Tehran.

The last time Khamenei delivered a sermon to a crowd during Friday prayers was in 2012, on the 33rd anniversary of Iran’s Islamic Revolution. The supreme leader called for “national unity” and described Iran’s accidental downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flights 752 as a “bitter” tragedy, but one that should not overshadow the “sacrifice” of one of its top commanders, killed in a U.S. drone strike in Iraq days earlier. 

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corp shot down Ukraine’s jetliner just hours after Iranian missiles targeted U.S. forces on two bases in Iraq, which was retaliation for the Trump administration’s killing of Iran’s Gen. Qasem Soleimani near Baghdad on Jan. 3.

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