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Hardliner Ayatollah: What Brings Respect For Iran Is 'Shooting Down American Drones'

Ayatollah Ahmad Alamolhoda, a hardline cleric and a close ally of Ali Khamenei. File photo

A powerful hardliner ayatollah in an obvious attack on Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said that what elicits respect for Iran is shooting down U.S. drones and seizing British ships, not signing agreements.

Ayatollah Ahmad Alamolhoda, a close ally of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in his Friday Prayer sermon on October 25 in Mashhad, unleashed an attack on Rouhani and compared him to the Safavid Dynasty’s Shah Sultan Hossein (1694–1722) who is famous in history as a weak and indecisive monarch.

Two days earlier, Rouhani had accused hardliners of “shutting down the country” by refusing to ratify legislation demanded by the West to guard Iran’s banking system from money laundering, corruption and financing of terrorism. In an angry speech Rouhani threatened to reveal who is obstructing his government’s efforts to run the country.

Rouhani is under pressure because of U.S. sanctions and opposition of domestic hardliners, while he has been losing support of voters who expected reforms from his government.

Alamolhoda without naming Rouhani in his sermon said, “They don’t respect you because of JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal). When you are able to shoot down an American drone and seize a British ship, then they respect you”.

The references to an American drone and a British ship are incidents in June when Iran shot down a U.S. surveillance drone over the Persian Gulf and seized a British tanker in July.