Iran Leader Calls US Officials 'First-class Idiots'

TEHRAN — Iran's supreme leader on Wednesday 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.

Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei's comments were unusually harsh, reflecting the broader tension between Iran and the United States after President Donald Trump withdrew America from Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers.

Ayatollah 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."

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"Sometimes the enemy talks like a clown. A US official recently said Iran should learn human rights observation from Saudi Arabia! What can we call him but a clown? Neither their threats, nor their promises, nor their signatures are reliable and they should be distrusted," he said.

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The supreme leader did not name the official. However, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton told a meeting of the outlawed Iranian terror 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.

Iran's supreme leader typically doesn't make such forceful remarks. However, Trump's decision last year to withdraw from the nuclear deal has seen the 79-year-old leader grow increasingly critical.

In 2017, Ayatollah Khamenei dismissed remarks by Trump calling Iran a "terrorist" nation as "idiotic." Last May, after Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal Iran leader told Trump in a speech: "You cannot do a damn thing!"

"The body of this man, Trump, will turn to ashes and become the food of the worms and ants, while the Islamic Republic continues to stand," he said at the time.

Ayatollah Khamenei's comments came two days after Bolton toured Israel and Saudi Arabia, two US allies who want Washington to wage war on the Islamic Republic while  on Tuesday, the Pompeo threatened that America would double down on commercial and diplomatic efforts in the coming weeks to "put real pressure on Iran."

Ayatollah's remarks to Qom residents were meant to mark the anniversary of protests in 1978 that challenged US backed Pahlavi king. They would spiral into the nationwide demonstration that saw the king leave Iran and give rise to the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Iranians will commemorate the revolution's 40th anniversary in February.


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