(JTA) – The supreme leader of Iran shot back at U.S. President Donald Trump, who warned Iran last week that it was “on notice” for testing a ballistic missile.
In a speech to military officers in Tehran on Tuesday, Ali Khamenei said a response to Trump’s threats is forthcoming, according to a report on Khamenei’s website.
“Trump says fear me,” Khamenei said. “No. The Iranian nation will respond to your comments with a demonstration on the 10th of February. They will show others what kind of stance the nation of Iran takes when threatened.”
Khamenei’s speech, his first since Trump’s inauguration last month, comes amid escalating tensions between Iran and the new U.S. administration. In late January, Iran tested a ballistic missile, prompting Trump to impose a new round of sanctions on the Islamic Republic. Trump also issued a series of warnings to Iran, writing on Twitter that Iran has been “PUT ON NOTICE for firing a ballistic missile” and warning that Iran is “playing with fire.”
Asked whether a possible military response might be undertaken, Trump said last week that “nothing is off the table.” On Monday, an Iranian official, Mojtaba Zonour, warned that the Islamic Republic could destroy the American military force in nearby Bahrain if it were threatened and said Iranian missiles could reach Tel Aviv within seven minutes.
On Tuesday, Khamenei said Trump had revealed the “real face of America.”
“We actually thank this new president [Trump]. We thank him, because he made it easier for us to reveal the real face of the United States,” Khamenei said. “What we have been saying, for over thirty years, about political, economic, moral, and social corruption within the U.S. ruling establishment, he came out and exposed during the election campaigns and after the elections. Now, with everything he is doing – handcuffing a child as young as 5 at an airport – he is showing the reality of American human rights.”
The latter is a reference to the case of an Iranian boy who was detained last month at an American airport following Trump’s executive order barring entry to citizens of seven Muslim majority countries. The White House defended the boy’s detention, saying he could have been a security threat.