As Iran tries to calibrate how to deal with President Trump, its supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in caustic comments to air force commanders, thanked the new American leader for revealing “the real face” of the United States.
“We are grateful to this gentleman who has come!” Ayatollah Khamenei said, according to a report posted on his official website.
Iranian officials have shown caution since Mr. Trump took office last month; despite expressing anger at his policies and comments, even hard-liners have taken care not to provoke the new American president.
Mr. Trump included Iran on a list of seven predominantly Muslim countries whose citizens have been barred from entering the United States, and his national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, warned Tehran last week that it had been put “on notice” after a missile test. Washington also imposed new economic sanctions on 25 people and entities after the missile launch.
“The things we have been saying over the past 30-some years — political, economic, moral and social corruption in the American administration — this man came and exposed them during his election campaign and afterwards,” Ayatollah Khamenei said, according to the text of the speech.
He added that a report that a 5-year-old boy had been handcuffed at Dulles International Airport, outside Washington, during enforcement ofthe travel ban “shows the real meaning of American human rights.”
Although the boy was detained — the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, said that “to assume that just because of someone’s age or gender, or whatever, that they don’t pose a threat would be misguided and wrong” — he was apparently not handcuffed.
In a Twitter post on Friday, Mr. Trump said: “Iran is playing with fire — they don’t appreciate how “kind” President Obama was to them. Not me!”
Ayatollah Khamenei responded in biting fashion with his own Twitter post. “Iran should’ve appreciated Obama!,” he wrote, adding, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State: “How come? Appreciate him for #DAESH, war in Iraq &Syria or public support for 2009 unrest?”
In a follow-up post, he said that Iranians would hold a rally on Friday to show “their position toward threats.”
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