Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday went after U.S. leadership, calling them “American clowns” while leading prayers in Tehran.
In front of a large crowd, the 80-year-old led Friday prayers in the city for the first time in 8 years, saying that the U.S. is “too small to bring the Iranian nation to its knees,” the Associated Press reports.
Earlier this month, Khamenei promised retaliation after President Trump authorized a drone strike that killed Iran’s top military commander Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad earlier this month.
Last week, Iran launched a series of ballistic missiles at two Iraqi military bases that house U.S. troops, though no casualties were sustained.
Khamenei on Friday said that the missile strike dealt a “blow to America’s image” as a superpower, the AP reports.
While the U.S. didn’t retaliate with further military action, Trump did levy additional “punishing” sanctions against Iran.
Through Twitter, the president and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have voiced their support of anti-government protests in Tehran that started after Iran admitted that is mistakenly shot down a Kyiv-bound commercial plane.
Khamenei responded Friday, mocking “these American clowns who falsely and despicably say that they are standing with the Iranian people,” referring to Trump and his administration.