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Iran supreme leader calls US officials 'first-class idiots'

AP  |  Tehran 

Iran's on Wednesday called US officials "first-class idiots," mocking American leaders as US toured the Mideast to promote the White House's tough stance on

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's comments were unusually harsh, reflecting the broader tension between and the after withdrew from Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers.

Khamenei, speaking to a group from Iran's religious capital of Qom, made the remark while recounting a story about a U.S. once predicting he'd celebrate in

"Some US officials pretend that they are mad," Khamenei said. "Of course I don't agree with that, but they are first-class idiots." The did not name the However, US told a meeting of the Iranian group Mujahedeen-e-Khalq last March that "before 2019, we here ... will celebrate in Iran." Trump's personal lawyer, former Rudy Giuliani, has made similar comments before the MEK over the years.

Iran's supreme leader, viewed by Shiite hard-liners as second only to God, 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 grow increasingly critical.

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

Khamenei's comments Wednesday came as visited

On Tuesday, the US top threatened that would double down on commercial and diplomatic efforts in the coming weeks to "put real pressure on Iran." Khamenei's remarks to Qom residents were meant to mark in 1978 that challenged They would spiral into the nationwide demonstration that saw the shah leave Iran and give rise to the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Iranians will commemorate in February.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, January 09 2019. 18:20 IST