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He called the religious leaders of Iran "hypocritical holy men" who amassed vast sums of wealth while allowing their people to suffer, part of a highly critical broadside issued as the republic approached the 40th anniversary of its Islamic revolution and the USA prepared to reimpose the economic sanctions.

Boot agreed that Trump's harsh rhetoric aimed at the Iranian president further highlights Trump's "subservience to Putin".

Pompeo on Sunday noted that the United States in January had already sanctioned Sadeq Larijani, the head of Iran's judiciary, for human rights violations. Pompeo was introduced by Fred Ryan, publisher of The Washington Post and chairman of the Ronald Reagan Foundation.

Pompeo and his colleagues say they do not seek regime change and just want to alter Tehran's behaviour.

He stopped short of calling for regime change, but he announced stepped-up US government broadcasting in Farsi that is likely to foment further unrest against the government.

"Peace with Iran would be the mother of all peace and war with Iran would be the mother of all wars", Rouhani said.

Wazne says Iran could well go to war to protect its oil exports, the foundation of its economy.

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In his Sunday address, Pompeo said Iran has seen its "most enduring protests" since the revolution these past eight months as Iranians demonstrate against state spending on military activity in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and elsewhere. "USA!" The chaotic scene lasted for 30 seconds or so, with Pompeo eventually quipping, "If there were only so much freedom of expression in Iran", to cheers and applause.

The secretary also announced that the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees the Voice of America, is taking new steps to help Iranians get around internet censorship. Southern California is home to about 250,000 Iranian Americans.

Gheibparvar said the Iranian people and Armed Forces will stand up to the enemies, and will not back down, adding "our belief is that the way to felicity and progress is to resist and withstand ill-wishers and enemies". He assured them that the Trump administration shared their dreams for the people of Iran. Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal attorney, has given paid speeches to the Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK), a controversial dissident group that the State Department listed as a terrorist group until 2012.

In a speech late on Sunday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denounced Iran's leaders as a "mafia" and promised unspecified backing for Iranians unhappy with their government. "He is not in a position to act against Iran", Brigadier-General Qolam-Hossein Gheibparvar said on Monday.

"The truth is they're merely polished front men for the ayatollah's global con artistry". Pompeo blasted the country for corruption and human rights abuses - but also offered direct talks with the regime. It might have been nothing more than a cynical attempt to placate hawkish elements within his party, who, though obliged to defend his conduct in Helsinki, are not used to having to argue for the virtues of mollifying foreign leaders with whom the United States is at odds.

The 2015 deal places restrictions on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief. "The Trump administration's actions and words are simply not compatible with any policy other than fomenting unrest in and destabilizing Iran". Potentially that would escalate the very situation the nuclear deal sought to avoid - an Iran with a stockpile of enriched uranium that could lead to making atomic bombs.

With popular discontent over Iran's faltering economy and sliding currency, and the prospect of tough new USA sanctions, Iran's leaders have called for unity.


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