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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.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 14 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump grants flurry of last-minute pardons

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty

President Trump issued 73 pardons and commuted the sentences of 70 individuals early Wednesday, 11 hours from leaving office.

Why it matters: It's a last-minute gift to some of the president's loyalists and an evident use of executive power with only hours left of his presidency. Axios reported in December that Trump planned to grant pardons to "every person who ever talked to me."

59 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump revokes ethics order barring former aides from lobbying

Photo: Spencer Platt via Getty

Shortly after pardoning members of Congress and lobbyists convicted on corruption charges, President Trump revoked an executive order barring former officials from lobbying for five years after leaving his administration.

Why it matters: The order, which was signed eight days after he took office, was an attempt to fulfill his campaign promise to "drain the swamp."

  • But with less than 12 hours left in office, Trump has now removed those limitations on his own aides.

Trump pardons former fundraiser Elliott Broidy

President Trump has pardoned Elliott Broidy, a former top Republican fundraiser who pleaded guilty late last year to conspiring to violate foreign lobbying laws as part of a campaign to sway the administration on behalf of Chinese and Malaysian interests.

Why it matters: Broidy was a deputy finance chair for the Republican National Committee early in Trump’s presidency, and attempted to leverage his influence in the Trump administration on behalf of his clients. The president's decision to pardon Broidy represents one last favor for a prominent political ally.