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Iran’s Khamenei says US will lose like cat in ‘Tom and Jerry’

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says President Donald Trump's speech announcing U.S. withdrawal from a nuclear deal with Iran was "silly and superficial;" May 9, 2018. (SalamPix/Abaca Press/TNS)

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei expressed defiance of the U.S. with a side order of American pop culture, invoking the cat-and-mouse adventures of Tom and Jerry.

“The U.S. has tried various political, economic, military and propaganda undertakings to hit the Islamic Republic” throughout its four decades, the nation’s top religious leader told a gathering of officials on Wednesday. But “all these plots failed. Like the famous cat in Tom and Jerry they will lose again.”

In the cartoon series created 78 years ago, the plucky mouse Jerry consistently outsmarted the larger cat Tom, although both did their best to torment each other.

Khamenei’s comments, posted on his official web site, were his first since U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech this week outlining a list of demands for Iran, including that the Persian Gulf nation permanently end its nuclear program and withdraws support for groups like the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah that the U.S. considers terrorists.

Pompeo’s speech detailed Washington’s approach after President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the 2015 international agreement in which Iran limited its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions.

Iran “can not engage” with the U.S. because “it doesn’t stand by its commitments,” Khamenei said. “Flexibility in the face of this enemy will turn it bolder,” while “resistance in the face of the U.S. will force it to step back.”

Khamenei, who’s a revered figure to his followers, describes himself as a literature fan. He has praised “Les Miserables” by the French author Victor Hugo as “the best novel ever written.”

Earlier this month he was photographed at the annual International Book Fair in Tehran visiting stands and perusing a Farsi translation of “Fire and Fury,” the American bestseller by Michael Wolff that offers a scathing portrayal of Trump’s first year in office.

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© 2018 Bloomberg News

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.