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"What we have been saying, for over thirty years, about political, economic, moral, and social corruption within the U.S. ruling establishment, he came out and exposed during the election campaigns and after the elections," said Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (Photo: AP)

Iranian Supreme Leader Thanks Trump for Exposing 'Real Face' of America

Experts say Trump is playing into Khamenei's assertion that Americans should not be trusted

Lauren McCauley

Days after President Donald Trump announced new sanctions against Iran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said his nation is grateful to the new leader for revealing "the real face of the United States."

Referencing Trump's tweet last week in which he declared that the Middle East nation does not "appreciate how 'kind' President Obama was to them," Khamenei told a gathering of air force commanders: "The new U.S. president says Iran should thank Obama! Why?! Should we thank him for [creating] ISIS, the ongoing wars in Iraq and Syria, or the blatant support for the 2009 sedition in Iran?"

"We actually thank this new president!" Khamenei continued. "We thank him, because he made it easier for us to reveal the real face of the United States. What we have been saying, for over thirty years, about political, economic, moral, and social corruption within the U.S. ruling establishment, he came out and exposed during the election campaigns and after the elections."

"Now, with everything he is doing," Khamenei added, "he is showing the reality of American human rights."

In the remarks, published on the religions leader's website on Tuesday, Khamenei also rebuked Trump's statement that he was "putting Iran on notice." The Ayatollah said the Iranian nation will respond "with a demonstration on the 10th of February," marking the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, they he says "will show others what kind of stance the nation of Iran takes when threatened."

Dina Esfandiary, a fellow at the Centre for Science and Security Studies at London's King's College, told to Bloomberg News that Trump is playing into Khamenei's previous statements that Americans should not be trusted.

"Rather than mirroring Trump, the supreme leader is adopting an 'I-told-you-so' tone to allow Trump's comments to speak for themselves," she said.

"Khamenei," Bloomberg reports, "Iran's ultimate arbiter on all issues of state, had warned that the U.S. remained untrustworthy even as the two nations went on to achieve a breakthrough in ties with the 2015 nuclear deal, 'so the U.S. rhetoric plays into' his world view, Esfandiary said."

Meanwhile, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Tuesday that despite Trump's threats, the nation will not renegotiate its nuclear agreement. "I believe Trump will push for renegotiation. But Iran and European countries will not accept that," Zarif told the Persian daily newspaper Ettelaat, according to the Huffington Post. He added, "We will have difficult days ahead."

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