“It was in fact God’s deed,” Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei said in a tweet posted Sunday.
The leader of Iran was referring to the capture of two U.S Navy vessels and 10 American sailors Jan. 12, the same day President Obama delivered his State of the Union Address.
“What you did was very great, interesting and timely and it was in fact, God’s deed that took Americans to our waters so that through your timely job they raised their hands over their heads and were arrested,” read the full text of the tweet.
Earlier, the chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces, Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi, said the capture of the sailors was meant to teach Congress a lesson not to impose new sanctions on Iran after it illegally tested a ballistic missile at the end of last year.
Two other tweets showed pictures of a meeting of the Ayatollah with members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps who were involved in the action against the U.S. Navy near Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf. In one photo, Khamenei can be seen congratulating the IRGC soldiers.
In another tweet, Khamenei took aim at the American and Western “insistence on using ‘Islamic State’ title for some terrorist groups.” He wrote the title is an “insult at Muslims and indirectly strengthens these groups.”
Khamenei’s bellicose statements directed at the United States followed remarks last week in which he said he never trusted the West. Iran’s supreme leader also said the United States was “not honest” in the fight against terrorism in the region, and Iran remains wary of American deceit.
In September, Khamenei went even further and bragged Iran would deliver a defeat to the United States in the event of war.
If the news about Khamenei’s anti-US rhetoric might worry you, Secretary of State John Kerry says you can relax. During a television interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Kerry said the world is safer thanks to the nuclear deal with Iran.
When confronted with some of the bellicose anti-US rhetoric coming out of Iran, Kerry said he naturally wished the rhetoric were otherwise, but then said the Iranians were merely responding to American criticism.
“What I’m trying to do and what President Obama is trying to do, principally, is move us away from that kind of confrontation and put to test whether or not we can find cooperation,” Kerry added, giving the Iranian presence during talks about the future of Syria as an example of the Iranian-American ‘cooperation’.
It is unclear to what kind of American criticism Khamenei was responding to Sunday when he said the capture of the American navy vessels and crews was ‘God’s deed.’ After all, it was Kerry himself who had thanked the Iranians for the rapid release of the ships and its crews.
As for the Iranian-American cooperation, Kerry wishes to establish he apparently forgot what Khamenei and his closest advisor have said just three months ago. Khamenei’s top adviser, Ali Akbar Velayati, said on Press TV in November that Iran will not cooperate with the United States in the “fight against terrorists in Syria.”
Khamenei himself was even more blunt in September when he ruled out talks with the United States beyond the nuclear negotiations. “We approved talks with the United States about the nuclear issue specifically. We have not allowed talks with the U.S. in other fields and we will not negotiate with them,” Khamenei said at the time.
He added the U.S. remains the “Great Satan” and warned cooperation with America would allow it “to penetrate Iran.”
“The Iranian nation ousted the Satan. We should not let it back through the window,” Khamenei said, referring to the Islamic Revolution in 1979 when the U.S.-backed Shah was ousted in a revolt led by Ayatollah Khomeini.