Tehran (AFP) - Here are the main points of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's speech in a sermon during Friday prayers in Tehran, translated from Farsi by AFP.
- Killing of Soleimani -
Khamenei paid tribute to Major General Qasem Soleimani, head of the Quds Force, the foreign operations arm of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, who was killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad.
"They killed someone who was the best known and strongest commander of the fight against terrorism.
"They killed him shamelessly and in a cowardly fashion and confessed to it. This caused the disgrace of America".
- Attack on US forces -
"The day when Sepah's (the Guards' Farsi name) missiles demolished the US military base in Iraq is also one of Allah's days. That a nation has the power to slap a global, harassing, arrogant power in this way shows God's power and is one of Allah's days".
"America has received blows by the powerful hand of the resistance, but this strike was greater than all, it was a strike to their reputation, to America's might. This cannot be compensated by anything ... sanctions cannot return the lost prestige of America. This, too, is a sign of divine help."
- Quds Force -
"The Quds Force... are the fighters without borders and will be wherever they need to be and maintain the dignity of the downtrodden."
"These are the ones that keep away and deflect the shadow of war and terrorism and destruction from our country."
"Yes, they do go to help Palestine and Gaza and other places that need their help, but also bring security for our own country."
- Ukrainian airplane -
"The plane crash was a bitter accident, it burned through our heart."
"But some tried to... portray it in a way to forget the great martyrdom and sacrifice" of Soleimani.
"Our enemies were as happy about the plane crash as we were sad ... happy that they found something to question the Guards, the armed forces, the system".
"I thank those fathers and mothers, those mourning, who stood against the enemy's conspiracies even though their hearts were heavy with sadness."
- Protests -
"The few hundred who insulted the picture of General Soleimani, are they the people of Iran, or this million-strong crowd in the streets?"
"The deceived who once shouted 'No Gaza, No Lebanon', not only they never gave their lives for Iran, but did not even sacrifice any of their interests for the country."
"The spokesmen of the vicious American government keep repeating that we stand with the people of Iran. You're lying."
"Even if they are with the people of Iran, it is to stab them with their poison dagger."
"These American clowns that lie in utter viciousness that 'we are with the people of Iran'. See who the people of Iran are."
- Europe -
"One of the other things that was done to overshadow these great events (Soleimani's funeral, missile attack on US bases), was what these three European governments did.
"The wicked British government, France government and Germany, by threatening Iran to take the nuclear issue to the (UN) Security Council.
"These three countries are the ones that during the (Iran-Iraq war) helped Saddam Hussein as much as they could.
"It has been proven now, after about a year, that they are, in the true sense of the word, America's lackeys, and these cowardly governments are waiting for the Iranian nation to surrender."
- Allah's Days -
"What does Allah's Days mean? It's the day when one sees God's power in events. The day when tens of millions in Iran and hundreds of thousands in Iraq and other countries took to the streets to venerate Martyr Soleimani, creating the world's largest funeral.
"This is one of Allah's Days. This cannot have been done by anything but the hand of God's power."
- Elections -
"In elections, the presence of the Iranian nation insures the country, disappoints the enemy. They’re at pains to not let the people participate in the elections..."
"I say that the people should participate in the elections with eagerness and enthusiasm."