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Iranian minister Zarif accuses US of supporting dictators, butchers

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Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif issued a familiar line against the U.S. on Wednesday, accusing Washington of backing “dictators, butchers and extremists.”

Zarif was responding to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech Tuesday night, in which the latter reiterated his focus on containing the actions of Iran, a country the U.S. designates the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.

“My administration has acted decisively to confront the world’s leading state sponsor of terror: the radical regime in Iran … We will not avert our eyes from a regime that chants ‘death to America’ and threatens genocide against the Jewish people,” Trump said, eliciting applause from many in the audience.

Zarif responded on Twitter: “Iranians — including our Jewish compatriots — are commemorating 40 yrs of progress despite US pressure, just as realDonaldTrump again makes accusations against us @ #SOTU2019. US hostility has led it to support dictators, butchers & extremists, who’ve only brought ruin to our region.”

The back-and-forth is nothing new, but continues to highlight the opposing narratives of Tehran and Washington, whose diplomatic relations have been frozen since 1980.

Iran points specifically to U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s monarchy, which it and others in the international community accuse of killing thousands of civilians in Yemen’s civil war, a conflict the UN has deemed the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Tehran, meanwhile, backs Syria’s authoritarian leader Bashar Assad, who’s been charged with using chemical weapons against his own people and killing hundreds of thousands of Syrians in that country’s eight-year-long war.

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