Iran's top leader is leading the prayer for the first time in eight years



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Iran's top leader is leading the prayer for the first time in eight years



IRAN Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Hamnei will lead a prayer in Tehran today, for the first time since 2012, during anti-government protests in Iran that erupted after the Iranian military crashed a Ukrainian passenger plane last week, the BBC reported.

Authorities are facing pressure from protesters over the collapse of the Ukrainian passenger plane and economic slowdown amid US economic sanctions.



Iran's Mehr news agency reported that the eighty-year-old Hamnei did not associate prayer-giving at the Mosala Tehran mosque with the political situation in Iran.

The Mehr agency quoted officials as saying that “the Iranian nation will once again show its unity and grandeur.”

Hamnei led the prayer for the last time on the 33rd anniversary of the 2012 Islamic Revolution.

A symbolic act

Leading prayer in the capital is a symbolically important act, common when the Iranian supreme leader wants to convey an important message, said Mehdi Khalaji of the Washington Institute for Middle East Policy.

President Hasan Rohani on Wednesday called for national unity. However, he asked the military to fully shed light on how the aircraft was destroyed.

The Iranian air defense crashed a Ukrainian Boeing 737-800 aircraft on its way from Tehran to Kiev. 176 people were killed, most of them Iranians and Canadians.

For three days, Iranian authorities denied responsibility, but after international pressure, Tehran acknowledged that the aircraft had been destroyed by human error and replaced with a cruise missile.

Earlier, Iranian missiles hit two US military bases in Iraq, which is why Iran's air defense thought a counterattack would follow, Tehran's official explanation.

Iran's top leader is leading the prayer for the first time in eight years

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