Pompeo calls Iran’s religious leaders ‘hypocritical holy men’
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has blasted Iran's religious leaders as "hypocritical holy men" whom he says are more interested in lining their pockets and spreading hardline views abroad than helping out their own cash-strapped citizens.
Pompeo's speech on Sunday came as US President Donald Trump and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani traded angry threats amid rising tensions between the two countries.
"Sometimes it seems the world has become desensitised to the regime's authoritarianism at home and its campaigns of violence abroad, but the proud Iranian people are not staying silent about their government's many abuses," Pompeo told a crowd of Iranian Americans during a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California.
"The United States under President Trump will not stay silent," he said in an address aimed at members of southern California's 250,000-strong Iranian-American community.
Pompeo took particular aim at several of Iran's judicial, military and political leaders, accusing them of widespread corruption.
"The level of corruption and wealth among Iranian leaders shows that Iran is run by something that resembles the mafia more than a government," Pompeo said.
The top US diplomat claimed that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had an off-the-books hedge fund, Setad, worth $95bn, and that Iran's judiciary chief Sadeq Larijani was worth $300m after wiring public funds to his own accounts.