Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday that he's grateful to President Donald Trump for showing "the true face of the US".
Khamenei told a gathering of Iran's air force commanders in Tehran that the new US administration has shown the world "the depth of corruption in US government", according to quotes published by Iran's semi-official MEHR news agency.
Khamenei reportedly told the commanders: "We however thank this new guy in the White House, since he largely did the job we had been trying to do in the past decades: to divulge the true face of the US. We had been working to show the world the depth of corruption in US government and ranks and files of the ruling elite; Trump did it in few days after coming to the White House."
He added, "Their claims to human rights are no longer tenable."
Khamenei also made an apparent reference to the five-year-old son of an Iranian mother who was detained at a US airport following Trump's ban on visas for seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran.
According to Iran's official news agency, IRNA, the Ayatollah said, "Presently, too, by embarking on such actions, like putting handcuffs on a five-year-old kid, he [Trump] is demonstrating the reality behind the American human rights."
Khamenei's comments come amid escalating tensions between Iran and the US since Trump became president. The travel ban and sanctions enacted by the Trump administration, coupled with missile testing by Iran, have contributed to the deteriorating relationship.
Concerns have been raised over the future of a deal, brokered by the Obama administration, which requires Iran to heavily restrict its nuclear program. Trump has frequently criticised the deal.
On Saturday, a day after the Trump administration imposed fresh sanctions over an Iranian ballistic missile test, US Defense Secretary James Mattis called Iran "the single biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world".
Two days earlier, Trump had tweeted that "Iran has been formally PUT ON NOTICE" and should have been "thankful" for the "terrible deal" brokered by the Obama administration. He declined to rule out military action against Iran.
But a senior Iranian adviser to the Ayatollah, Ali Akbar Velayati, dismissed Trump's remarks as "baseless ranting". And this is not the first time that the Ayatollah has spoken in such terms about the US President.
In November, during the election race, Khamenei lambasted both Trump and Hillary Clinton for revealing what he called the moral shortcomings of the US.