Iranian Zelzal missile launch.
WASHINGTON – Iran responded on Thursday to a warning from the Trump administration over its continued ballistic missile testing by mocking the new US president as a ranting extremist that no one takes seriously.
A senior adviser to Iran’s supreme leader said the Islamic Republic would proceed “vigorously” with its missile program, despite the threat from US National Security Adviser Michael Flynn that Iran was officially being put “on notice” over its recent activities. Senior Trump officials later in the day said the administration is considering a “whole range of options” on how to proceed should Iran continue with its missile testing.
Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency quoted a dismissive Ali Akbar Velayati characterizing Donald Trump as an “extremist” who has alienated the majority of Americans.
Trump followed up on Flynn’s Wednesday statement with a tweet the following morning: “Iran has been formally PUT ON NOTICE for firing a ballistic missile,” he wrote. “Should have been thankful for the terrible deal the US made with them!”
Capitol Hill aides say the administration is entertaining new sanctions on Iran over its “nonnuclear activities” – a move that would technically be allowed by the international nuclear agreement brokered with Iran in 2015, which ended all nuclear-related sanctions.
Such a proposal was floated this week by Republican House members, who introduced a bill titled the Iran Nonnuclear Sanctions Act of 2017. The bill – proposed by co-chairs of the House Republican Israel Caucus – would sanction Iran for its support for terrorism, human rights abuses and its ballistic missile activities.
If passed, the legislation would target all individuals, companies and organizations that touch Iran’s ballistic missile program; Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which coordinates Iran’s proxy organizations fighting battles across the region; Mahan Air, a subsidiary of Iran’s official civilian airline that is often used to transfer military aid and personnel to the Syrian regime; and Iran’s “direct and indirect” access to the US financial system.
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