In a televised sermon he claimed the US government did not care about the Iranian people and only wanted to “stab them in the heart with their venomous daggers”. The Islamic Republic’s most powerful figure made the comments after Donald Trump used Twitter to reach out to Iranian civilians as they took to the streets of Tehran in their thousands to protest against the regime’s downing of a passenger jet. Ayatollah Khamenei told worshippers at a mosque: “The villainous US government repeatedly says that they are standing by the Iranian people. They lie.
“If you are standing with the Iranian people, it is only to stab them in the heart with their venomous daggers.”
He continued: “The seamless US government was disgraced by calling Martyr Soleimani a terrorist when he was recognised by everyone as the most prominent and powerful commander in the fight against terrorism.
“The US government killed Martyr Soleimani not in the battlefield, but thievishly and cowardly.”
He added: “These American clowns who lie and say they are with the Iranian people should see who the Iranian people are.”
It marked the first time Khamenei led the Friday prayer sermon in eight years (Image: IRANIAN SUPREME LEADER PRESS OFFICE / HANDOUT)
And in a chilling warning to Washington, Khamenei said: “Resistance must continue until the region is completely freed from the enemy’s tyranny,” as he demanded the withdrawal of American troops from neighbouring Iraq and the wider Middle East.
Khamenei also said the retaliatory strikes on military bases in Iraq which housed US troops served as “a blow to the dignity and awe of the US as a superpower”.
His rare speech on the Islamic holy day comes after Iranians called on Khamenei to resign after the country admitted “unintentionally” shooting down the Ukrainian aircraft.