U.S. President Donald Trump has warned Iranian President Hassan Rohani on Twitter to "never, ever" threaten the United States or he would face consequences “few throughout history have ever suffered before.”
Trump’s tweet late on July 22, mainly in capital letters, followed a speech in which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo excoriated Iran's leadership, and came hours after Rohani warned Trump against pursuing hostile policies against Tehran.
"America should know peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars,” the official Iranian government news agency IRNA quoted Rohani as saying at a July 22 gathering of Iranian diplomats.
Trump’s tweet said: “To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE."
"WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!”
Mimicking Trump's tweet, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif replied, "UNIMPRESSED ... We've been around for millennia & seen fall of empires, incl our own, which lasted more than the life of some countries. BE CAUTIOUS!
Iran's official government news agency IRNA said Trump was only "copying" Zarif, who had reportedly warned Western countries during the 2015 nuclear negotiations to "never threaten an Iranian."
The commander of Iran’s Basij force, Gholam Hossein Gheibparvar, dismissed Trump’s tweet as “psychological warfare."
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“He wouldn’t dare take any action against Iran,” Gheibparvar was quoted as saying by the semiofficial ISNA news agency.
“We will never give up our revolutionary principles and beliefs," he said, adding that “the Iranian people and armed forces will stand up to enemies and will not yield.”
Iran's official government news agency IRNA said Trump was only "copying" Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who had reportedly warned Western countries during the 2015 nuclear negotiations to "never threaten an Iranian."
The tweet came about two hours after after Pompeo blasted Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other Islamic religious leaders in the theocratic government as "hypocritical holy men."
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In a speech in California, Pompeo also assailed Rohani and Zarif, considered by many to be moderates in comparison with Khamenei and others in the ruling establishment.
“The truth is they’re merely polished front men for the ayatollah’s international con artistry. Their nuclear deal didn’t make them moderates. It made them wolves in sheep’s clothing," he said.
Pompeo also vowed that the United States would maintain and increase diplomatic, military, and financial pressure against what he labeled the "mafia" government of Iran.
A correspondent with RFE/RL's Radio Farda who covered Pompeo’s speech said Iranian-Americans he interviewed “warmly” welcomed the remarks by the top U.S. diplomat and the focus on Iran’s human rights abuses.
Pompeo’s speech at one point was interrupted by a woman screaming and shouting: “President Trump imprisons children. The Trump-Pence regime is kidnapping children.”
The audience booed the woman, and the crowd began chanting, “USA. USA.”
Pompeo reacted by saying: “if there were only so much freedom of expression in Iran.”
Iran’s Foreign ministry criticized the speech as interference in its affairs.
"Pompeo's speech was a clear interference in Iran's state matters...Such policies will unite Iranians who will overcome plots against their country," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said on July 23.
Germany called for restraint in reaction to the warnings exchanged between Rohani and Trump.
Foreign Ministry Christofer Burger told reporters in Berlin on July 23: "We support dialogue and talks, and we call on all sides to exercise restraint and rhetorical disarmament."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has repeatedly called for a harder international stance on Iran, praised Trump’s warning to Tehran.
"I would like to praise the tough stand expressed yesterday by President Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo against the aggression of the Iranian regime," Netanyahu said at the start of a cabinet meeting.
"Over the years, this regime has been spoiled by the major powers and it is good to see that the U.S. is changing this unacceptable equation,” he added.
The U.S. administration is ratcheting up pressure on Tehran since Trump in May pulled the United States out of the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions against Iran.
The deal with six world powers provided Iran with some relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.
The others who signed the pact – Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China – have vowed to remain in the deal.