Iran's Khamenei sarcastic comment sparks spicy US comeback
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a string of acerbic attacks on the US yesterday, the latest war of words between the two countries since President Donald Trump took office on 20 January.
In an address to an air force pageant in Tehran the supreme leader of Iran sarcastically thanked Trump for his "unorthodox election campaign", and suggested that the new administration's immigration ban showed the real face of the US.
"We actually thank this new president! We thank him, because he made it easier for us to reveal the real face of the United States," said Khamenei.
"What we have been saying - for over 30 years - about political, economic, moral, and social corruption within the US ruling establishment, he came out and exposed during the election campaigns and after the elections."
Khamenei hinted that protests would be held in Iran against the new US government.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that Trump would follow a different path to the previous administration.
"I think Iran is kidding itself if they don't realise that there is a new president in town," said Spicer.
Khamenei also highlighted the case of an Iranian boy who was maltreated at a Washington airport.
"Now, with everything [Trump] is doing - handcuffing a child as young as five at an airport - he is showing the reality of American human rights."
Khamenei's spiky comments follow a heightening of anti-Iranian rhetoric emanating from the White House.
New US Defence Secretary James Mattis is well-known to be hostile to Iranian influence in the Middle East.
Last week he called Iran the world's "biggest state sponsor of terrorism".
Khamenei's "thanking" Trump is the latest sarcastic comment from Iran directed to the West.
In 2011, then President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad mocked the UK government for its handling of riots in England, urging security forces to show "restraint towards opposition forces".