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Airliner crash a mistake that pleased Iran’s enemies: Supreme Leader Khamenei

In this photo released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers his sermon in the Friday prayers at Imam Khomeini Grand Mosque in Tehran, Iran, Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. Iran's supreme leader said President Donald Trump is a "clown" who only pretends to support the Iranian people but will "push a poisonous dagger" into their backs, as he struck a defiant tone in his first Friday sermon in Tehran in eight years. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Iran’s supreme leader says that the downing of a civilian airliner leaving Tehran was a bitter accident that saddened Iran and made its enemies happy.

In a rare sermon at Friday prayers in Tehran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says Iran’s international rivals have seized on the crash to question the country and its armed forces.

The crash of a Ukraine International Airlines jet after it was hit by at least one surface-to-air missile last week killed 176 people, including 138 bound for Canada.

Khamenei also attacks the United States for its killing of a top Iranian general, which was a factor in putting Iranian air defences on a hair-trigger, and calls President Donald Trump a clown.

In London yesterday, Canada called a meeting of most of the countries affected and laid out demands for Iran’s co-operation with the investigation, punishing those responsible, and compensating victims’ families.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has scheduled a news conference in Ottawa this morning to report on Canada’s efforts since the strike.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2020.

—With files from The Associated Press

The Canadian Press