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Khamenei Compares Trump To 'Smarter' Reagan, Says U.S. Will Not 'Weaken' Iran

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (file photo)

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has lashed out at U.S. President Donald Trump and asserted that his policies will not "weaken" Tehran.

In a series of tweets and a televised speech on December 27, Khamenei suggested that U.S. efforts to rein in Iran have been failing since Ronald Reagan was president three decades ago.

"Reagan was more powerful and smarter than Trump. He was a better actor in making threats," Khamenei said.

He reiterated Iranian claims that a U.S. warship deliberately shot down an Iranian passenger plane over the Persian Gulf in 1988, killing all 290 people aboard. The United States said it was a mistake.

Khamenei said that "Iran has made great advances in all areas since Reagan's time" and added, "This trend will continue under the current American president, and any hopes on their part that the Islamic republic would back off or weaken is futile."

Trump has called Iran, where Khamenei has final say over government policies, a "dictatorship," and his administration has imposed a series of tough new sanctions over Iran's ballistic-missile activities, which the United States maintains violate the spirit of the 2015 agreement between Tehran and global powers on Iran's nuclear program.

The administration also accuses Iran of arming Yemen's Shi'ite Huthi rebels in their war against Yemen's Saudi-backed government -- a charge Tehran denies.

In an October speech, Trump outlined a more aggressive approach to Iran over its nuclear and missile programs and its support for militant groups in the Middle East.

He declined to certify that Tehran was complying with the nuclear deal, which obliged it curb its nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief, and warned that the United States might ultimately withdraw from the agreement.

With reporting by Reuters, The Times of Israel, and The Hill
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