U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump engaged in a war of words with Iran’s leaders on Monday, warning them of “consequences” for their rhetoric and their posture in the region amid a push by his administration to undermine the government there.
Trump responded on Twitter to remarks made earlier on the weekend by Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, who said that “America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.”
“NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE,” Trump responded in a late night tweet, written in all capital letters. “WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!”
The US president’s national security adviser, John Bolton, reiterated the administration position in a statement to the press later in the day, written in sentence case.
The exchange reflects increased tensions resulting from a mounting US pressure campaign on Iran targeting the country’s financial system – which the administration claims is run by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps to the exclusive benefit of its leadership – and its oil and gas market. Having withdrawn the US from a nuclear agreement with Iran brokered with five other international powers in 2015, the Trump team now plans on snapping back all sanctions that were in place before the agreement by November 4.
Tehran has repeatedly warned in recent weeks that Trump’s policy, which threatens to collapse Iran’s economy and throw the government into crisis, will lead to war between the two nations. Iranian officials want guarantees from European powers hoping to keep the 2015 agreement alive that they will protect Iran from the harshest sanctions, including US efforts to bring their crude exports down to zero by the fall.
Iranian leaders have also warned that they may resume their strategic enrichment of fissile material – nuclear work that had previously isolated the country on the world stage and prompted an international crisis.
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National security pundits responded on Twitter lambasting the president for using all caps and for the tone of his message relative to that of Rouhani’s remarks.
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