Earlier in the day, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, while leading Friday prayers in Tehran for the first time since 2012, noted that the assassination of top IRGC General Qasem Soleimani revealed the “terrorist nature” of the US, and also observed that Trump is a “clown”.
US President Donald Trump responded in a series of tweets to Khamenei’s speech, claiming that the Iranian economy “is crashing, and their people are suffering”, while urging the top leader to “be very careful with his words!”.
The US president described the Iranian Supreme Leader as “not so Supreme”, characterizing the sections of Khamenei’s Friday speech that dealt with the US and Europe as “nasty things”.
In a possible move to enhance the effect of his own tweet, Trump tweeted again moments later, but this time in Farsi, urging the Iranian leadership to “Make Iran Great Again!”.
“The noble people of Iran—who love America—deserve a government that’s more interested in helping them achieve their dreams than killing them for demanding respect. Instead of leading Iran toward ruin, its leaders should abandon terror and Make Iran Great Again!”, Trump tweeted.
In his Friday speech, Khamenei described the Trump administration as “clowns”, slammed Israel, mourned Soleimani, and extolled the combat and human assets of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, and recalled revenge for the assassination in the form of a missile attack on two Iraqi military bases that host US forces.
The Supreme Leader of Iran took to the social media on Friday, denouncing “the villainous US govt” for hypocrisy – a statement quoted by Trump in his serial tweet tirade.
The first week of January saw a drastic spike in tensions between the US and Iran after Trump gave the presidential okay for the assassination of Iran’s elite Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani. Iran retaliated by striking US bases in Iraq.
The US Central Command said that 11 soldiers were injured in Iran’s retaliation strike. The statement was in contrast to previous Pentagon assertions that the Iranian missile strikes did not result in casualties.
Following the assassination of Soleimani and several senior members from the Iraqi militia while they were in Baghdad, Iraqi lawmakers voted to expel US-led coalition forces from the country.
American officials have repeatedly ruled out a complete pullback from Iraq, however. White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien last week said that the United States would leave on its “own terms”.
Moments after Soleimani was assassinated, Iran vowed revenge. Trump responded by threatening to target 52 Iranian sites, including national cultural heritage locations – a threat that, if carried out, would fall under the heading of war crimes in the Geneva Convention.