“To Iranian President Rouhani,” Trump wrote shortly before midnight Sunday EDT, then he hit the caps-lock button:
“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!”
Trump was apparently responding to a speech earlier Sunday by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in which he warned of a “mother of all wars” if the United States attacked the Islamic Republic.
“Mr. Trump, don’t play with the lion’s tail,” Rouhani warned. He also said, however, that peaceful ties between the two countries could be the “mother of all peace.”
Though Trump may have been responding directly to Rouhani, the tweet came as part of an overall administration escalation of verbal attacks on Iran. On Sunday evening in Simi Valley, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo gave a harsh speech denouncing what he called Tehran’s “mafia-style” government and pledging support for Iranians who would challenge it.
Trump’s tweet was reminiscent of his threats, issued at just about this time last summer, to unleash “fire and fury” against a nuclear-armed North Korea if it attacked U.S. territory.
Since then, however, Trump has embarked on a rapprochement with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the still-unfulfilled quest to begin to denuclearize the Korean peninsula. The two leaders met at a one-day summit in Singapore in June in which Trump made a major concession to Kim — canceling joint military exercises with South Korea — and received little if anything in return.
The Iran tensions come after Trump withdrew the United States from an agreement to curtail Iran’s nuclear activities — a landmark, international pact signed in 2015 that the administration hopes to unravel.
Tehran was abiding by the terms of the nuclear agreement, but Trump said that pact didn’t go far enough. Trump says he wants to confront all of Tehran’s “malign behavior,” such as support for regional militant groups, in addition to the country’s nuclear potential.
Washington will unilaterally reimpose brutal economic sanctions on Iran in a few weeks and has demanded other nations stop all imports of Iranian oil.
©2018 Los Angeles Times
Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.