Archive for January 18, 2020

Ayatollah Khamenei Gets Mouthy Toward Trump On Twitter. That Was A Bad Idea.

January 18, 2020

Source: Ayatollah Khamenei Gets Mouthy Toward Trump On Twitter. That Was A Bad Idea. | The Daily Wire

DailyWire.com
Ayatollah Khamenei Trump
Getty Images: Olivier Douliery / Iranian Religious Leader Press Office

Iranian Supreme Leader Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei was blasted on Friday by President Donald Trump after Khamenei decided to attack Trump directly on Twitter over Trump’s advocacy for the Iranian people.

Khamenei made his remarks in response to a tweet from Trump on January 11, which stated: “To the brave, long-suffering people of Iran: I’ve stood with you since the beginning of my Presidency, and my Administration will continue to stand with you. We are following your protests closely, and are inspired by your courage.”

Khamenei responded: “The villainous US govt repeatedly says that they are standing by the Iranian ppl. They lie. If you are standing by the Iranian ppl, it is only to stab them in the heart with your venomous daggers. Of course, you have so far failed to do so, & you will certainly continue to fail.”

Trump responded to Khamenei by quote retweeting him and writing: “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!”

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Khamenei.ir@khamenei_ir

The villainous US govt repeatedly says that they are standing by the Iranian ppl. They lie. If you are standing by the Iranian ppl, it is only to stab them in the heart with your venomous daggers. Of course, you have so far failed to do so, & you will certainly continue to fail.

View image on Twitter
In a separate tweet, Trump added: “The so-called ‘Supreme Leader’ of Iran, who has not been so Supreme lately, had some nasty things to say about the United States and Europe. Their economy is crashing, and their people are suffering. He should be very careful with his words!”

Donald J. Trump

The New Yorks Times said in a recent report that the Trump administration’s sanctions again Iran, which is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, have devastated the country and have limited Iran’s ability to respond to aggression from the U.S.:

Iran is caught in a wretched economic crisis. Jobs are scarce. Prices for food and other necessities are skyrocketing. The economy is rapidly shrinking. Iranians are increasingly disgusted.

Crippling sanctions imposed by the Trump administration have severed Iran’s access to international markets, decimating the economy, which is now contracting at an alarming 9.5 percent annual rate, the International Monetary Fund estimated. Oil exports were effectively zero in December, according to Oxford Economics, as the sanctions have prevented sales, even though smugglers have transported unknown volumes.

…The bleak economy appears to be tempering the willingness of Iran to escalate hostilities with the United States, its leaders cognizant that war could profoundly worsen national fortunes. In recent months, public anger over joblessness, economic anxiety and corruption has emerged as a potentially existential threat to Iran’s hard-line regime.

Pressure against Iran has rapidly increased over the last week after it admitted that it shot down a passenger plane, killing 176 people, and after Britain, France and Germany notified Iran that they were taking action to clamp down on Iran’s accelerating aggression, which violates the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

The Foreign Ministers of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom said in a joint statement on Tuesday:

Following Iran’s announcement in May 2019 that it would cease meeting some of its commitments under the JCPoA, we have sought to persuade Iran to change course. The E3 have worked hard to address Iran’s concerns and bring it back into compliance with its commitments under the nuclear agreement. We have also undertaken and supported diplomatic efforts, such as France’s initiative, to deescalate tensions and to bring Iran and the US to the negotiating table for a comprehensive negotiated solution. The E3 remain fully committed to this diplomatic effort and intend to resume it as soon as conditions allow.

However, in the meantime Iran has continued to break key restrictions set out in the JCPoA. Iran’s actions are inconsistent with the provisions of the nuclear agreement and have increasingly severe and non-reversible proliferation implications.

We do not accept the argument that Iran is entitled to reduce compliance with the JCPoA. Contrary to its statements, Iran has never triggered the JCPoA Dispute Resolution Mechanism and has no legal grounds to cease implementing the provisions of the agreement.

We publicly stated our concerns, along with the High Representative of the European Union, on 11 November. At the Joint Commission on 6 December, we made clear to Iran that unless it reversed course, we would have no choice but to take action within the framework of the JCPoA, including through the Dispute Resolution Mechanism.

Instead of reversing course, Iran has chosen to further reduce compliance with the JCPoA and announced on 5 January that “the Islamic Republic of Iran, in the fifth step in reducing its commitments, discards the last key component of its limitations in the JCPOA, which is the ‘limit on the number of centrifuges’”, and that “the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear program no longer faces any operational restrictions”, including on enrichment and enrichment-related matters.

We have therefore been left with no choice, given Iran’s actions, but to register today our concerns that Iran is not meeting its commitments under the JCPoA and to refer this matter to the Joint Commission under the Dispute Resolution Mechanism, as set out in paragraph 36 of the JCPoA.

The Trump administration launched new sanctions against Iran this last week in response to Iran firing missiles at U.S. forces in Iraq.

“First, the President is issuing an executive order authorizing the imposition of additional sanctions against any individual owning, operating, trading with, or assisting sectors of the Iranian economy, including construction, manufacturing, textiles, and mining,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said during a White House press conference. “And let me be clear: These will be both primary and secondary sanctions. The EO also allows us to designate other sectors in the future as Secretary Pompeo and me think is appropriate.”

“Second, we are announcing 17 specific sanctions against Iran’s largest steel and iron manufacturers, three Seychelles-based entities, and a vessel involved in the transfer of products,” Mnuchin said. “As a result of these actions, we will cut off billions of dollars of support to the Iranian regime, and we will continue our enforcement of other entities.”

“Third, we are taking action against eight senior Iranian officials who advanced the regime’s destabilizing activity and were involved in Tuesday’s ballistic missile strike,” Mnuchin concluded. “Today’s sanctions are part of our commitment to stop the Iranian regime’s global terrorist activities. The President has been very clear: We will continue to apply economic sanctions until Iran stops its terrorist activities and commit that it will never have nuclear weapons.”

This report has been updated to include additional information.

 

For some Iranians, Khamenei speech stokes rage over downed jetliner

January 18, 2020

Source: For some Iranians, Khamenei speech stokes rage over downed jetliner | The Times of Israel

Activists angry after Iran’s supreme leader says plane crash shouldn’t overshadow ‘sacrifice’ of Soleimani; ‘he didn’t even observe a minute of silence’ for victims, one says

In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, center, leads the Friday prayers at Imam Khomeini Grand Mosque in Tehran, Iran, Friday, Jan. 17, 2020.  (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, center, leads the Friday prayers at Imam Khomeini Grand Mosque in Tehran, Iran, Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Some Iranians reacted angrily Friday to a speech by the country’s supreme leader, which they said sought to downplay days of protests after a tension-filled month in the Islamic Republic.

“He didn’t even try to calm the people and totally ignored the protesters,” said one activist in Iran.

Like other Iranians contacted by AFP from outside the country, she asked to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions.

Protests erupted after the Iranian government admitted to having accidentally shot down a Ukrainian jet on January 8, killing all 176 people on board.

Rescue workers carry the body of a victim of a Ukrainian plane crash in Shahedshahr, southwest of Tehran, Iran, January 8, 2020 (AP/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Leading the main weekly prayers in Tehran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the downing a “bitter” tragedy.

But he said it should not overshadow the “sacrifice” of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a US drone strike in Iraq on January 3.

“He openly declared that Qassem Soleimani was more important than the passengers of the Ukrainian plane,” the activist said.

To avenge Soleimani’s death, last week Iran launched a barrage of missiles on an Iraqi base housing US troops. Hours later, it downed the Boeing 737.

Another Iranian responded to the speech via the Telegram messenger app, saying Khamenei “said bluntly… the dead, whether on the ground or in the sky, are not important to me.”

Friday’s speech came after a traumatic month in which Iran appeared to be tipping toward war with its foe the United States in the wake of Soleimani’s killing.

In this picture released by the official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, worshipers chant slogans during Friday prayers ceremony by a banner showing slain Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, left, and Iraqi Shiite senior militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who were killed in Iraq in a US drone attack on January 3, and a banner which reads in Persian: “Death To America, “at Imam Khomeini Grand Mosque in Tehran, Iran, Jan. 17, 2020. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Khamenei last led Friday prayers at Tehran’s Mosalla mosque on the 33rd anniversary of the Islamic revolution in February 2012, at another time of crisis over the Iran nuclear issue.

On Friday, Khamenei insisted that demonstrations over the downing of the jet were not representative of the Iranian people.

“When he says these people are not one of us, it deepens divisions among people and widens the distance between the people and the government,” a 24-year-old artist in Tehran told AFP.

“And it makes someone like myself, who is not close to the regime, seek change even more aggressively,” he added.

One Iranian Twitter user posted that “ignoring the protesters and reducing them to a few hundred compared to Qassem Soleimani’s funeral is the perspective of the regime.”

Hundreds of thousands of people had filled the streets of several cities in Iran to mourn Soleimani in the days after his death.

“There was nothing new, just slogans, slogans and slogans. He didn’t even observe a minute of silence for the victims of the plane crash,” a 35-year-old woman told AFP.

 

Trump warns Khamenei to be ‘careful with his words’ following Tehran sermon

January 18, 2020

Source: Trump warns Khamenei to be ‘careful with his words’ following Tehran sermon | The Times of Israel

US president mocks Iranian supreme leader, writes in support of the ‘noble people of Iran,’ after Khamenei attacks America and Europe in speech

US President Donald Trump at a ceremony in the White House, January 17, 2020, in Washington. (AP/Steve Helber)

US President Donald Trump at a ceremony in the White House, January 17, 2020, in Washington. (AP/Steve Helber)

US President Donald Trump on Friday mocked and warned Ayatollah Ali Khamenei after the Iranian supreme leader called him a “clown” earlier in the day as he addressed prayers in Tehran.

“The so-called ‘Supreme Leader’ of Iran, who has not been so Supreme lately, had some nasty things to say about the United States and Europe,” Trump wrote on Twitter, apparently referring to Khamenei’s speech.

“Their economy is crashing, and their people are suffering. He should be very careful with his words!” Trump said.

Trump followed up by writing in support of the Iranian people in response to an earlier tweet by Khamenei.

“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 wrote in English and Farsi.

Khamenei had written on Twitter earlier Friday that “The villainous US govt repeatedly says that they are standing by the Iranian ppl. They lie. If you are standing by the Iranian ppl, it is only to stab them in the heart with your venomous daggers.”

The statement was in response to Trump on Saturday writing in support of Iranian protesters.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Khamenei.ir@khamenei_ir

The villainous US govt repeatedly says that they are standing by the Iranian ppl. They lie. If you are standing by the Iranian ppl, it is only to stab them in the heart with your venomous daggers. Of course, you have so far failed to do so, & you will certainly continue to fail.

View image on Twitter

Khamenei said in his Friday speech that Trump will “push a poisonous dagger” into the Iranian nation’s back. He said the outpouring of grief at the funeral for Iran’s top general, who was killed in a US airstrike on January 3, showed that Iranians support the Islamic Republic. It was Khamenei’s first time addressing Friday prayers in Tehran since 2012.

The Iranian leader said America had been “cowardly” when it killed the most effective commander in the fight against the Islamic State group, general Qassem Soleimani, the deputy commander of the extraterritorial Quds Force.

In response to the US airstrike, Iran launched a barrage of ballistic missiles targeting US troops in Iraq, without causing serious injuries. Khamenei said the missile attack was a “blow to America’s image” as a superpower. In part of the sermon delivered in Arabic, he said the “real punishment” would be in forcing the US to withdraw from the Middle East.

As Iran’s Revolutionary Guard braced for an American counterattack that never came, it mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian jetliner shortly after it took off from Tehran’s international airport, killing all 176 passengers on board, mostly Iranians.

In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei waves to worshipers prior to delivering his sermon in the Friday prayers at Imam Khomeini Grand Mosque in Tehran, Iran, January 17, 2020. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Khamenei called the shoot-down of the plane a “bitter accident” that saddened Iran as much as it made its enemies happy. He said it should not overshadow Soleimani’s “sacrifice” for the country.

Iran’s belated admission that it shot down the plane sparked protests in Tehran and other cities, shattering the national unity that came following Soleimani’s killing.

Trump has spoken out in favor of the Iranian protesters and warned the regime against cracking down on demonstrations.

“The government of Iran must allow human rights groups to monitor and report facts from the ground on the ongoing protests by the Iranian people,” Trump tweeted last week in English and Farsi. He has also warned Tehran against killing protesters.

In November, tens of thousands of Iranians took to the streets in protests ignited by rising gasoline prices, but which quickly evolved into protests against the regime. Iran has been in the grip of a severe economic crisis since the Trump administration withdrew the US from the 2015 nuclear deal and imposed crippling sanctions.

Iranian police officers take position while protesters gather in front of Amir Kabir University in Tehran, Iran, January 11, 2020.(AP Photo)

Tehran responded by shutting down the internet, essentially cutting Iran off to the outside world, and violently crushing the protests. Some 1,500 protesters were killed, according to some estimates.

Khamenei said Friday that protesters were unrepresentative of the Iranian people as a whole, who had turned out in their hundreds of thousands for Soleimani’s funeral.

He said Iran’s enemies had seized on the plane crash to question the Islamic Republic, the Revolutionary Guard and the armed forces. “Our enemies were as happy about the plane crash as we were sad … happy that they found something to question the Guards, the armed forces, the system,” he said.

He also lashed out at Western countries, saying they are too weak to “bring Iranians to their knees.” He said Britain, France and Germany, which this week triggered a dispute mechanism to try and bring Iran back into compliance with the unraveling 2015 nuclear agreement, were “contemptible” governments and “servants” of the United States.

He said Iran was willing to negotiate, but not with the United States.

Thousands of people attended the Friday prayers, occasionally interrupting his speech by chanting “God is greatest!” and “Death to America!”

Iranian worshipers chant slogans during Friday prayers by a banner showing slain Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, left, and Iraqi Shiite senior militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and a banner which reads in Persian: “Death To America, “at Imam Khomeini Grand Mosque in Tehran, Iran, Jan. 17, 2020. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Khamenei was speaking opposite a huge portrait of Soleimani hung behind the congregation. Thousands of worshipers crammed into the mosque and more spilled over onto the streets outside, kneeling in the snow.

Police were out in force as they have been since the protests erupted over the downing of the airliner.

Khamenei has held the country’s top office since 1989 and has the final say on all major decisions. The 80-year-old leader openly wept at the funeral of Soleimani and vowed “harsh retaliation” against the United States.

After Soleimani was killed, Iran announced it would no longer be bound by the limitations in the nuclear agreement. European countries who have been trying to salvage the deal responded earlier this week by invoking a dispute mechanism that is aimed at bringing Iran back into compliance and could result in even more sanctions.

Khamenei was always skeptical of the nuclear agreement, arguing that the United States could not be trusted. But he allowed President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate, to conclude the agreement with US President Barack Obama. Since Trump’s withdrawal, he has said there can be no negotiations with the United States.

Khamenei last delivered a Friday sermon in February 2012, when he called Israel a “cancerous tumor” and vowed to support anyone confronting it. He also warned against any US strikes on Iran over its nuclear program, saying the US would be damaged “10 times over.”