Iran gave US 'slap on face', calls missile strikes 'day of God'

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But at Friday Prayers, Khamenei said that the plane crash and subsequent protests were being used by Iran's enemies to distract from the IRGC victory in striking against the US bases in Iraq.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday accused the governments of Britain, France and Germany of being "American lackeys" in the face of United States pressure over the nuclear accord.

In retaliation for the strike, Iran launched dozens of missiles at Iraqi military installations housing U.S. troops on January 8.

The presser comes after a Ukrainian Boeing 737 crashed on 8 January near Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport, killing all 176 people on board.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Friday that Iran's attack against a US military base was "a blow to the USA image as a superpower".

In a statement, Tehran Friday Prayers Headquarters announced that the sermon will be held at Tehran's Mosalla mosque, adding, "the Iranian nation will once again demonstrate their unity and magnificence", said a report in Iran's Mehr news agency.

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Khamenei said the protesters were unrepresentative of the Iranian people, who had turned out in their hundreds of thousands for Soleimani's funeral.

Police were out in force ahead of the prayers as they have been since several days of protests erupted over the downing of the airliner, AFP correspondents reported. The Iranian authorities initially denied responsibility but, after global pressure mounted, the Revolutionary Guard admitted that the plane had been mistaken for a "cruise missile" during heightened tensions with the US.

The Revolutionary Guards can take their fight beyond Iran's borders, the supreme leader says, responding to the US killing of a top general and to unrest at home over the accidental downing of an airliner, according to the Australian Associated Press. Security forces dispersed some of the crowds with tear gas and live ammunition.

The Islamic Republic has been reeling from one crisis to another, from the targeted killing by the United States of its top general to the Revolutionary Guard's accidental shootdown of a passenger plane carrying scores of young people, majority Iranians.

Making the main weekly sermon in Tehran for the first time since 2012, with Iran and its clerical rulers under pressure at home and overseas, Khamenei also said that United States sanctions imposed in a row over its nuclear program would not make Iran yield.

Khamenei called the shootdown of the plane a "bitter accident" that he said had saddened Iran as much as it made its enemies happy.

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Khamenei has always been skeptical of the nuclear deal, arguing that the United States can not be trusted.

Tensions between Iran and the United States have increased steadily since President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal with the world powers, which had imposed restrictions on its nuclear program in exchange for lifting global sanctions.

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump moved to de-escalate the crisis in the aftermath of the Iranian missile attacks, saying that "Iran appears to be standing down" and the "American people should be extremely grateful". "When you stand with the Iranian people, it's because you want to put your poisoned dagger in the back of the Iranian nation".

"The enemy's negotiation is contaminated with fraud and deception", Khamenei said. Iran began openly breaching certain limits set by the deal, and after the killing of Soleimani said it was no longer bound by any of the agreement's restrictions. "Of course, you have so far failed to do so and you will certainly continue to fail".

He said Britain, France and Germany had launched a dispute mechanism this week to bring Iran back in line with the unraveled 2015 nuclear war. However, he allowed the relatively moderate President Hassan Rouhani to conclude the deal with President Barack Obama.

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