Iran's Khamenei calls US officials 'first-class idiots'

ASSOCIATED PRESS
TEHRAN
Published

Iran's supreme leader yesterday called U.S. officials "first-class idiots," mocking American leaders as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo toured the Mideast to promote the White House's tough stance on Iran.

Khamenei, speaking to a group from Iran's religious capital of Qom, made the remark while recounting a story about a U.S. official once predicting he'd celebrate Christmas in Iran. "Some U.S. officials pretend that they are mad," Khamenei said. "Of course I don't agree with that, but they are first-class idiots." The supreme leader did not name the official. However, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton told a meeting of the Iranian exile group Mujahedeen-e-Khalq last March that "before 2019, we here ... will celebrate in Iran." Trump's personal lawyer, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, has made similar comments before the MEK over the years.

Tensions have risen between Iran and the U.S. after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from a multilateral nuclear deal in May and reimposed sanctions on Iran. Israel regards the Islamic republic as its most dangerous enemy and has backed Trump's decision in May to exit from the nuclear deal. In 2017, Khamenei dismissed remarks by Trump calling Iran a "terrorist" nation as "idiotic." Last May, after Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal which saw Iran limit its uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions, Khamenei told Trump in a speech: "You cannot do a damn thing!"

Khamenei's comments came as Pompeo visited Iraq. On Tuesday, the U.S. top diplomat threatened that America would double down on commercial and diplomatic efforts in the coming weeks to "put real pressure on Iran."

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