Hours after Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei mocked President Donald Trump as a "clown" in a rare public sermon, Trump fired back in a series of tweets, writing that Iran's leaders should "abandon terror and Make Iran Great again!" also tweeting the message out in Farsi.
On Friday, Khamenei condemned Trump and the U.S. government for a drone strike that killed Iran's top general Qasem Soleimani, during a rare public address while leading Friday prayers in Tehran.
Trump hit back following the address.
"The so-called “Supreme Leader” of Iran, who has not been so Supreme lately, had some nasty things to say about the United States and Europe," Trump wrote. "Their economy is crashing, and their people are suffering. He should be very careful with his words!"
The official English language account for Khamenei tweeted that the U.S. government is lying when it says it stands with the Iranian people.
"The villainous U.S. government repeatedly says that they are standing by the Iranian people. They lie," Khamenei said. "If you are standing with the Iranian people, it is only to stab them in the heart with their venomous daggers."
Trump went on to tweet a message to the Iranian people while including a riff on his 2016 campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again."
"The noble people of Iran - who love America - deserve a government that's more interested in helping them achieve their dreams than killing them for demanding respect," Trump said. "Instead of leading Iran toward ruin, its leaders should abandon terror and Make Iran Great Again!"
Tensions between Iran and the U.S. have been ratcheting up in recent weeks following the drone strike that killed Soleimani. Iran responded by launching ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases hosting U.S. troops. While preparing for a possible counterstrike, Iran accidentally shot down a Ukrainian jetliner outside Tehran. The incident prompted protests against the regime after the government eventually admitted fault for the downed jetliner that killed all 176 people on board.
Canada, the United Kingdom, Afghanistan, Sweden and Ukraine, whose citizens were among the victims, have all requested that Iran pay compensation.
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