Trump tells Iran’s supreme leader to be ‘careful with his words’

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According to Trump, Khamenei’s blistering speech was a mistake. (File/AFP)
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Iranian protesters gather around a fire during a demonstration in Tehran. The country has recently seen some of the acrimonious rallies against the regime. (AFP)
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Updated 19 January 2020

Trump tells Iran’s supreme leader to be ‘careful with his words’

  • “Their economy is crashing, and their people are suffering. He should be very careful with his words!” Trump tweeted

WASHINGTON, TEHRAN: President Donald Trump on Friday warned Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to be “very careful with his words.”
“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 tweeted of Khamenei’s comments earlier Friday in Tehran.
According to Trump, Khamenei’s blistering speech, in which he attacked the “vicious” US and described Britain, France and Germany as “America’s lackey’s,” was a mistake.
“Their economy is crashing, and their people are suffering. He should be very careful with his words!” Trump tweeted.
Khameini lashed out at Western countries as he led Friday prayers in Tehran for the first time in eight years, dismissing “American clowns” who he said pretend to support the Iranian nation but want to stick their “poisoned dagger” into its back.

Khamenei used his rare appearance at the weekly prayers to deliver a fiery address in which he insisted Iran would not bow to US pressure after months of crushing sanctions and a series of recent crises — from the American killing of a top Iranian general to Iran’s accidental shoot-down of a Ukrainian passenger plane.
“These contemptible governments are waiting to bring the Iranian nation to its knees,” Khamenei said.
“America, who is your elder, your leader and your master, was not able to bring the Iranian nation to its knees. You are too small to bring the Iranian nation to its knees.”

Iranians unhappy
Some Iranians reacted angrily to the speech by Khameini, which they said sought to downplay days of protests after a tension-filled month in the Islamic republic.
“He didn’t even try to calm the people and totally ignored the protesters,” said one activist in Iran. Like other Iranians contacted by AFP from outside the country, she asked to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions.
Protests erupted after the Iranian government admitted to having accidentally shot down a Ukrainian jet on Jan. 8, killing all 176 people on board.
In the sermon, Khamenei called the downing a “bitter” tragedy.
But he said it should not overshadow the “sacrifice” of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a US drone strike in Iraq on Jan. 3.
“He openly declared that Qassem Soleimani was more important than the passengers of the Ukrainian plane,” the activist said.
To avenge Soleimani’s death, last week Iran launched a barrage of missiles on an Iraqi base housing US troops. Hours later, it downed the Boeing 737.
Another Iranian responded to the speech via the Telegram messenger app, saying Khamenei “said bluntly... the dead, whether on the ground or in the sky, are not important to me.”
Friday’s speech came after a traumatic month in which Iran appeared to be tipping toward war with arch foe the US in the wake of Soleimani’s killing.

SPEEDREAD

Iranians reacted angrily to the speech by Khameini, which they said sought to downplay days of protests after a tension-filled month in the Islamic republic.

Khamenei last led Friday prayers at Tehran’s Mosalla Mosque on the 33rd anniversary of the Islamic revolution in February 2012, at another time of crisis over the Iran nuclear issue.
On Friday, Khamenei insisted that demonstrations over the downing of the jet were not representative of the Iranian people.
“When he says these people are not one of us, it deepens divisions among people and widens the distance between the people and the government,” a 24-year-old artist in Tehran told AFP.
“And it makes someone like myself, who is not close to the regime, seek change even more aggressively,” he added.
One Iranian Twitter user posted that “ignoring the protesters and reducing them to a few hundred compared to Qasem Soleimani’s funeral is the perspective of the regime.”
Hundreds of thousands of people had filled the streets of several cities in Iran to mourn Soleimani in the days after his death.
“There was nothing new, just slogans, slogans and slogans. He didn’t even observe a minute of silence for the victims of the plane crash,” a 35-year-old woman told AFP.


Palestinian minister claims Israeli police physically abused him

Fadi Hidmi. (Supplied)
Updated 04 April 2020

Palestinian minister claims Israeli police physically abused him

  • East Jerusalem — with a population of 350,000 — has been all but ignored by the Israeli Ministry of Health in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic

AMMAN: Palestinian Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Fadi Hidmi was released by Israeli police on Friday afternoon after being arrested for the fourth time without charge.

Ministry spokesman Awad Awad told Arab News that Hidmi had been “warned” not to “move around” or “do any work in” Jerusalem in accordance with measures being taken to minimize the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Awad also claimed that Hidmi had been physically abused by the police, saying that the minister was “punched in the face and forced to wear a mask with blood on it.”

CCTV at Hidmi’s Mount of Olives house show that he was manhandled by Israeli police during his arrest in the early hours of Friday.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld confirmed the arrest.

Rosenfeld told the Israeli press that Hidmi was arrested “on suspicion of Palestinian activities in Jerusalem.”

He said police searched Hidmi’s home and confiscated documents as well as “large sums of money. Israeli media said that the police had confiscated NIS10,000 ($2,750) found in the house.

Hidmi, a Jerusalem resident, was the director of the Jerusalem Chamber of Commerce and Industry before accepting his current job in the Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh’s government.

Before Hidmi’s release on Friday, Shtayyeh wrote on social media: “Israel targets who work for #Jerusalem, even at such critical moments as we work to save our people's lives from #COVID19.”

East Jerusalem — with a population of 350,000 — has been all but ignored by the Israeli Ministry of Health in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Jamil Kousa, director of the St. Joseph hospital, told Palestine TV that he was only informed on March 25 that his hospital should be prepared to accept patients with COVID-19.

Ahmad Buderi, the coordinator of the Jerusalem Alliance — an organization launched to help combat COVID-19 — has said that people in the city are depending almost solely on local initiatives to deal with the pandemic.

Before his arrest, Hidmi launched the website madad.ps to coordinate the distribution of urgenly needed food and medical supplies to the city’s residents.

Walid Nammour, secretary-general of the Jerusalem Hospital Network, estimates that the city’s six hospitals need $7 million to to deal with the potential spread of COVID-19 in East Jerusalem.

Nammour told Arab News that 300-400 ventilators are needed and that only 26 are available at present.