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World Iran’s supreme leader will lead Friday prayers for first time in eight years. In the past, he’s doubled down on hardline rhetoric.

00:16  17 january  2020
00:16  17 january  2020 Source:   washingtonpost.com

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Khamenei to lead Friday prayers for first time since 2012: Iran media. Without linking it to the current situation, state news agency IRNA said Iran ' s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei would lead Friday prayers in Tehran this week.

Khamenei to lead Friday prayers for first time since 2012: Iran media. Without linking it to the current situation, state news agency IRNA said Iran ' s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei would lead Friday prayers in Tehran this It would be the first time he has done so in nearly eight years .

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is set to take the exceptional step of leading Friday prayers in Tehran this week, according to the country’s state media.

Ali Khamenei standing in front of a building: In this picture released by the office of the Iranian supreme leader in 2018, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei waves to his supporters near Tehran. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)© AP/AP In this picture released by the office of the Iranian supreme leader in 2018, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei waves to his supporters near Tehran. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

The occasion marks the first time in eight years that Iran’s top religious and political authority will give the weekly sermon himself, rather than pass it off to a trusted cleric. Amid international and domestic pressure, it will allow the 80-year-old supreme leader to present his position to the Iranian people.

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Khamenei to lead Friday prayers for first time since 2012: Iran media. State news agency IRNA said Iran ' s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei would lead Friday prayers in Tehran this week. It would be the first time he has done so in nearly eight years .

Khamenei to lead Friday prayers for first time since 2012: Iran media. State news agency IRNA said Iran ' s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei would lead Friday prayers in Tehran this week. It would be the first time he has done so in nearly eight years .

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“Leading Friday prayers in the capital is a symbolically significant act usually reserved for moments when the Islamic Republic’s highest authority wishes to deliver an important message to the people,” Mehdi Khaliaji, a fellow at the Washington Institute, wrote on Thursday.

Despite Iran’s ongoing standoff with the United States after the killing of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the global anger over the Iranian shoot-down of a Ukrainian passenger jet and street protests in which hundreds may have been killed, Khamenei’s rare previous sermons show he is unlikely to use the moment as an opportunity to back down.

Slideshow by photo services

After the 2009 Iranian protests

Following a disputed election on June 12, 2009, Iranians took to the streets in some of the largest protests since the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Facing unprecedented pressure for reform, Khamenei chose to come out from behind the scenes and deliver Friday prayers a number of times.

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Under Iran ’ s theocratic rule, the supreme leader is seen as infallible, enjoying absolute authority over all the country’ s affairs © Handout/AFP/Getty. A clerical student of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic republic, Mr Khamenei spent years in jail before the 1979 revolution.

It would be the first time he has done so in nearly eight years . The latest protests have been much smaller than nationwide demonstrations against fuel price hikes in Washington says the campaign is aimed at reining in Tehran’ s missile programme as well as its “destabilising behaviour” in the region.

The supreme leader gave a long address days after the vote in June. But he offered little support for the protesters and no sign of compromise. Instead, he took aim at opposition leaders, telling them that “flexing muscles on the streets" is “not right.”

The protests ended in bloodshed, with the opposition claiming that scores had been killed and hundreds arrested. But months later, Khamenei gave another sermon in which he said that Iranian security forces could retaliate more.

“Resisting the system and taking out the sword against the system will be followed by a harsh response,” he said in September 2009.

The protests failed to oust Iran’s hard line president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who remained in office through August 2013. But the crowds in the street were some of the largest seen in Iran until last November, when rights groups estimate hundreds of people died after the government cracked down on mass demonstrations across the country.

Amid the Arab Spring

Though Khamenei opposed protests in his own nation, he welcomed the Arab Spring that shook the wider Middle East from 2011. Speaking at a Friday sermon in February 2011, he spoke of an “Islamic liberation movement” in the rest of the Arab world.

“The awakening of people is a war between two wills, the will of the people and the will of the enemies of the people,” said Khamenei. The Egyptian army should side with the people and “focus its eyes on the Zionist enemy," he added, according to Reuters.

But he warned of Western influence. “They are trying to replace one spy with another. They are trying to focus the spotlight on certain faces to impose the rule of the spies on you. Do not accept anything less than an independent popular regime that believes in Islam,” he said.

Under U.S. sanctions

The most recent time Khamenei spoke at Friday prayers was in Feb. 3, 2012, when Iran was facing increasing economic pressure from Obama administration sanctions designed to block an Iranian nuclear program.

“[O]ur advances in nuclear technology have become famous and everybody inside and outside the country has focused his attention on our nuclear technology,” he said.

Criticizing the influence of the United States and Israel, which he called “the Zionist regime” and described as a “cancerous tumor in this region,” Khamenei said that sanctions had ultimately strengthened Iran by forcing it to rely on its own scientific and economic advances.

The Iranian leader went on to say that President Barack Obama’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq showed that its influence was coming to an end. “As it happens, certain western intellectuals said a few days ago that today the situation of America and the west is like the situation of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s, which resulted in its collapse,” he said.

Trump warns Iranian supreme leader who called him a 'clown' to be 'very careful with his words' .
President Donald Trump warned Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to be "very careful with his words" after Khamenei called him a "clown"“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 wrote on Twitter. “Their economy is crashing, and their people are suffering.

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