TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- The United States supports "dictators, butchers and extremists” in the Middle East, Iranian Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif said in a Twitter post Wednesday in a response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech.
Tensions have ramped up between Iran and the United States since Trump pulled out of a multilateral nuclear deal last May and reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
"U.S. hostility has led it to support dictators, butchers & extremists, who’ve only brought ruin to our region,” Zarif wrote in the Twitter post.
During his speech, Trump said his administration had acted decisively to confront Iran, adding it of doing "bad, bad things”.
"We will not avert our eyes from a regime that chants ‘death to America’ and threatens genocide against the Jewish people,” he said.
Zarif responded by saying that Iran, including its Jewish community, was commemorating progress as it prepares to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution on Monday.
"Iranians—including our Jewish compatriots—are commemorating 40 yrs of progress despite U.S. pressure, just as @realDonaldTrump again makes accusations against us @ #SOTU2019” Zarif wrote on Twitter, referring to the State of the Union address.
Iran is home to an estimated 20,000 Persian Jews. Jews are protected under Iran's constitution and are free to worship in Iranian synagogues.
Iranian Jews cited in media reports describe feeling safe and comfortable practicing their faith in Iran.
Top Iranian officials, including President Hassan Rouhani, have said that the Islamic Republic is facing its toughest economic situation in 40 years, at least partially due to the U.S. sanctions.
Iran is currently celebrating 40 years of the Islamic Republic, commemorating the Islamic Revolution of 1979 when protestors overthrew the Western-supported monarch, Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi.