Americans Were Hurt in Iranian Strike, Military Says, Contradicting Trump

Americans Were Hurt in Iranian Strike, Military Says, Contradicting Trump

Americans Were Hurt in Iranian Strike, Military Says, Contradicting Trump

After the killing of Soleimani, Iran said it was no longer bound by the nuclear deal.

Khamenei's sermon comes at a tumultuous moment for Iran, which had seemed headed for conflict earlier in January after Soleimani was killed on January 3 outside Baghdad airport, prompting retaliatory strikes against Iraqi bases housing US troops.

After the missile strike, as Iran's Revolutionary Guard braced for an American counterattack that never came, it mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian jetliner shortly after takeoff from Tehran's worldwide airport, killing all 176 passengers on board, mostly Iranians.

Meanwhile, massive anti-US protest rallies were expected to be held after the prayers.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday defended the country's armed forces after it admitted to shooting down an Ukrainian passenger plane on January 8 by mistake, BBC reported.

However, the death of the general and the subsequent rocket attack led to other events, including the accidental demolition of a Ukrainian passenger plane in Tehran by the Iranian army, killing 176 people, and a resolution of the Iraqi parliament calling for deportation of foreign troops from the country.

As the economic crisis has worsened, Iran has seen wave after wave of sporadic, leaderless protests. Iran's supreme leader defended Iran's armed forces and its retaliatory missile strike against USA targets. The 80-year-old leader openly wept at the funeral of Soleimani and vowed "harsh retaliation" against the United States.

And Khamenei warned that US sanctions imposed in a row over its nuclear program would not make Iran yield.

It was the likes of Soleimani, not the protesters, who had devoted their lives to Iran, Khamenei said.

While the administration emphasises that it stands by the Iranian people, heavy USA sanctions reimposed by Trump have hastened the economy's deterioration and worsened economic conditions for ordinary Iranians, experts say.

US President Donald Trump, who pulled Washington out of a nuclear deal with Iran in 2018 and ratcheted up tension by reimposing US sanctions, had ordered the drone strike that killed Soleimani, who built up proxy militias across the region. "They threatened Iran with taking the nuclear issue to the Security Council once again, to which fortunately Iranian officials strongly responded", he said. "When you stand with the Iranian people, it's because you want to put your poisoned dagger in the back of the Iranian nation".

In his Friday sermon, the ayatollah also addressed a recent maneuver that could reinstate United Nations sanctions on Iran: the complaint that foreign ministers of the U.K., France and Germany filed on Tuesday.

In June 2019, Iran and the United States had also appeared to be on the brink of direct military confrontation after Tehran shot down a USA drone it said had violated its airspace. Of course you haven't done that yet and you won't be able to do anything. However, he allowed the relatively moderate President Hassan Rouhani to conclude the deal with President Barack Obama.

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