Iran’s top leader strikes defiant tone amid month of turmoil

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Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (graphic courtesy: MGN Online)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Iran’s supreme leader has lashed out at Western countries as he led Friday prayers in Tehran for the first time in eight years.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei dismissed “American clowns” who he said pretend to support the Iranian nation but would stick their “poisoned dagger” into its back.

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He insisted Iran would not bow to U.S. pressure after months of crushing sanctions and a series of recent crises, from the killing of a top Iranian general to the accidental shootdown of a passenger plane.

Khamenei said the mass funerals for the general who was killed in a U.S. airstrike show that the Iranian people support the Islamic Republic despite its trials.