Photo: Iranian Supreme Leader Press Office/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei told a crowd of his supporters the U.S. is an "arrogant power" and that God had allowed Iran to "slap the face" of the U.S., The New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Khamenei gave the rare public sermon on Friday to present a unified image of Iran to the rest of the world after recent escalations with the U.S. and an Iranian military accidentally shot down a civilian plane. The killing of all 176 passengers — including 82 Iranians — sparked protests across the country.

What he's saying: Khamenei provided little condolences to the families who lost relatives in the crash, and instead focused on asserting his power, the Times writes.

  • He called the protesters "stooges of the United States" — popular rhetoric to dismiss protesters in Iran.
  • Khamenei called President Trump a "clown" who is trying to "push a poisonous dagger" into the backs of Iranians.

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