Khamenei promises to ‘slap’ US, defeat sanctions



TEHRAN: Iran’s supreme leader says the Islamic Republic will “slap” the United States by defeating new American sanctions targeting the nation.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made the comments Thursday in a speech in Tehran before thousands of members of the Basij, an all-volunteer force under Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard.

Khamenei says he heard President Donald Trump tell European leaders that the Islamic Republic would collapse in the coming months over American sanctions, something he dismissed. The sanctions have hurt Iran’s already ailing economy and have fueled the depreciation of its rial currency.

Khamenei also warned that media controlled by foreign enemies could be as dangerous as “chemical weapons.” “With God’s help, so long as I am alive and retain my capacities and with your help, I will never allow such a thing to happen,” he said in the speech at Tehran’s Azadi stadium.

For Iran’s clerical establishment, enemy refers firstly to the United States which is dubbed the “Great Satan” and with which relations have been severed since the aftermath of its 1979 Islamic revolution.

Khamenei played down the impact of economic sanctions reimposed on Iran by the United States in August after Washington pulled out of the 2015 nuclear accord between Tehran and world powers.

“Our national economy can overcome the sanctions, and, with the help of God, we will overcome them, and this defeat will signal the defeat of America and a new slap for America from the Iranian nation,” he said.

On Wednesday, Tehran hailed its “victory” after the International Court of Justice ruled that sanctions reimposed after President Donald Trump pulled out of a nuclear deal put Iranian lives at risk.

But the United States insisted it was already allowing humanitarian exemptions to sanctions and, accusing Iran of seeking a “propaganda” win, announced it was terminating a treaty on which the case was based.

Qassem Soleimani, the leader of the Guard’s expeditionary Quds Force, attended the speech with the head of the Guard, Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari.