Jan 17, 2020

Iran's supreme leader blasts "clown" Trump in rare public sermon

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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What we know: Ukrainian Boeing 737 crashes in Tehran

Search and rescue teams at the site of the plane crash near Imam Khomeini Airport in Iran, Jan. 8. Photo: Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A Boeing 737-800 Ukraine International Airlines plane crashed in Tehran shortly after taking off from Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport on Jan. 8, killing all 167 passengers and nine crew members.

The latest: The Iranian government has agreed to send the black boxes from the downed jetliner to Ukraine, suggesting it cannot be read in Iran and providing little further detail, according to an unnamed Iranian official per AP. American, French and Canadian experts will help analyze the data in Ukraine.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 18, 2020

Iran's proxies in the Middle East

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Behrouz Mehri/Getty Staff, Anadolu Agency/Getty Contributor, Kaveh Kazemi/Getty Contributor

Iran has built up a vast network of proxies through which it wields influence across the Middle East, and which could take action to stoke tensions between the U.S. and Iran over the killing of Gen. Qasem Soleimani.

Why it matters: The political parties and militias that are influenced by and act on behalf of Iran likely pose a more direct threat to U.S. targets than Iran itself, the Washington Post writes.

Go deeperArrowJan 18, 2020 - World

International students turned away from U.S. as tensions with Iran grow

Photo: Lane Turner/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

An increasing number of Iranian students are being turned away from entry points when arriving at U.S. airports amid heated diplomatic tensions between the two nations, the New York Times reports.

What we know: Boston's Logan International Airport rejected an Iranian student, Shahab Dehghani, 24, on Monday, even though he had a valid student visa. The refusal sparked airport protests on the student's behalf. Although a petition for him to stay was eventually granted, Dehghani had already been sent back to Iran.

Go deeperArrowJan 22, 2020