19 February 2020,   12:33
Iran’s Supreme Leader blasts “American clowns” as he leads Friday prayers for first time in 8 years

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei led Friday prayers in Tehran for the first time in eight years, amid public fury over the military’s shooting down of a passenger jet and sky-high tensions with the US.

Khamenei mocked US officials as “American clowns” and criticized France, Germany and the UK as “lackeys” of the US that can’t be trusted. He also expressed his condolences to the families of victims of the plane crash.

It is rare for Khamenei - the highest spiritual and political authority in Iran - to lead Friday prayers, and the move is thought to be an effort to rally support after several tumultuous weeks that have piled pressure on the Islamic Republic’s rulers.