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Thursday
February 2020
10:50 AM IST
News Headlines
Ishant is hitting good areas, Prithvi should follow instincts: Kohli hints on playing XI        PCB chief hints at Pakistan giving up Asia Cup hosting rights        First 5G handset in India likely to be priced at Rs 50,000        Coronavirus outbreak to hit global growth; to have limited impact on India: RBI Guv        Death toll from China virus surges past 2,000        Necessary to prevent statelessness when nationality laws are changed: UN chief        Maha CM visits Shivneri Fort on Shivaji''s birth anniversary        Can transport minister come to explain govt proposal for introducing EVs, asks SC        SC upheld right to protest but other citizens also have rights: Interlocutors at Shaheen Bagh        Won't rule out playing 2023 World Cup, says Taylor        Sachin Tendulkar wins Laureus Sporting Moment Award for 2011 WC triumph        Messi, Hamilton share Laureus World Sportsman of Year honour; Biles gets third award        Kerala tourism eyes robust growth in domestic tourist footfalls in 2020        RBI Governor says no reason to doubt govt will meet fiscal deficit targets        UK budget on March 11 as planned: new finance minister        Wuhan hospital director dies of coronavirus        Opening of Kartarpur Corridor practical proof of Pakistan's desire for peace, says UN chief        People of Delhi taught a lesson to BJP which it will remember for long time: Gehlot        Delhi court sends Sharjeel to judicial custody till Mar 3 in New Friends Colony anti-CAA violence case        Prashant Kishor questions Nitish Kumar's development in Bihar        
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International News
Top Iran leader: Trump is a 'clown' who will betray Iranians
 
Tehran: Iran's supreme leader said President Donald Trump is a "clown" who only pretends to support the Iranian people but will "push a poisonous dagger" into their backs, as he struck a defiant tone in his first Friday sermon in Tehran in eight years.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the mass funerals for Iran's top general, who was killed in a US airstrike earlier this month, show that the Iranian people support the Islamic Republic despite its recent trials.

He said the "cowardly" killing of Soleimani had taken out the most effective commander in the battle against the Islamic State group.

In response, Iran launched a barrage of ballistic missiles targeting US troops in Iraq, without causing serious injuries.

Khamenei said the strike had dealt a "blow to America's image" as a superpower.

In part of the sermon delivered in Arabic, he said the "real punishment" would be in forcing the US to withdraw from the Middle East.

As Iran's Revolutionary Guard braced for an American counterattack that never came, it mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian jetliner shortly after it took off from Tehran's international airport, killing all 176 passengers on board, mostly Iranians.

Authorities concealed their role in the tragedy for three days, initially blaming the crash on a technical problem. Their admission of responsibility triggered days of street protests, which security forces dispersed with live ammunition and tear gas.

Khamenei called the shooting down of the plane a "bitter accident" that saddened Iran as much as it made its enemies happy.

He said Iran's enemies had seized on the crash to question the Islamic Republic, the Revolutionary Guard and the armed forces.

He also lashed out at Western countries, saying they are too weak to "bring Iranians to their knees".

He said Britain, France and Germany, which this week triggered a dispute mechanism to try and bring Iran back into compliance with the unravelling 2015 nuclear agreement, were "contemptible" governments and "servants" of the United States.

He said Iran was willing to negotiate, but not with the United States.

Khamenei has held the country's top office since 1989 and has the final say on all major decisions. The 80-year-old leader openly wept at the funeral of Soleimani and vowed "harsh retaliation" against the United States.

Thousands of people attended the Friday prayers, occasionally interrupting his speech by chanting "God is greatest!" and "Death to America!"

Tensions between Iran and the United States have steadily escalated since President Donald Trump withdrew the US from Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, which had imposed restrictions on its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.

The US has since imposed crippling sanctions on Iran, including its vital oil and gas industry, pushing the country into an economic crisis that has ignited several waves of sporadic, leaderless protests.

Trump has openly encouraged the protesters even tweeting in Farsi hoping that the protests and the sanctions will bring about fundamental change in a longtime adversary.

After Soleimani was killed, Iran announced it would no longer be bound by the limitations in the nuclear agreement. European countries who have been trying to salvage the deal responded earlier this week by invoking a dispute mechanism that could result in even more sanctions.

Khamenei was always skeptical of the nuclear agreement, arguing that the United States could not be trusted. But he allowed President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate, to conclude the agreement with President Barack Obama. Since Trump's withdrawal, he has repeatedly said there can be no negotiations with the United States.

Khamenei last delivered a Friday sermon in February 2012, when he called Israel a "cancerous tumor" and vowed to support anyone confronting it.

He also warned against any US strikes on Iran over its nuclear program, saying the US would be damaged "10 times over".


Death toll from China virus surges past 2,000
Necessary to prevent statelessness when nationality laws are changed: UN chief
UK budget on March 11 as planned: new finance minister
Wuhan hospital director dies of coronavirus
Opening of Kartarpur Corridor practical proof of Pakistan's desire for peace, says UN chief
Pakistan launches nationwide anti-polio campaign
Trump threatens intelligence block over Huawei: US diplomat
China says significant drop in coronavirus cases; death toll climbs to 1,665
Two more Indians test positive for coronavirus on cruise ship off Japan
France confirms first coronavirus death outside Asia
Making efforts to disembark Indians from cruise ship after quarantine period ends: Indian Embassy
Erdogan raises Kashmir in Pak Parliament, says issue close to both countries
Born on a boat: new baby among 87 rescued off Canary Islands
China rejects US charge of lack of transparency in sharing coronavirus info
China''s coronavirus death toll nears 1,500
Narayana Murthy''s son-in-law Rishi Sunak named new British finance minister
British finance minister Javid quits in reshuffle
Nepal shuts resort where 8 Indian tourists died
Trump says looking forward to visiting India
VIRUS Coronavirus death toll in China crosses 1,000
ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
'Joker' earns Joaquin Phoenix his maiden Oscar
 Los Angeles: Hollywood star Joaquin Phoenix finally ended his dry run at the Oscars as he picked up  
'Batman' script is beautiful, dark and moving: Colin Farrell
Scriptwriting is underrated: Ayushmann Khurrana
Abhishek Bachchan starts filming 'Bob Biswas'
KERALA NEWS
Two forest dept officials killed in wildfire
 Thrissur: Two forest department officials were on Sunday charred to death in a wildfire at Wadakkanc
CPI(M) expels two student activists held for Maoist links
Surendran new Kerala BJP President
Student who tested Positive for coronavirus discharged
NATIONAL NEWS
Maha CM visits Shivneri Fort on Shivaji''s birth anniversary
 Mumbai, Feb 19 (PTI) Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray visited the Shivneri Fort in Pune d
Can transport minister come to explain govt proposal for introducing EVs, asks SC
People of Delhi taught a lesson to BJP which it will remember for long time: Gehlot
Delhi court sends Sharjeel to judicial custody till Mar 3 in New Friends Colony anti-CAA violence case
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