In a dramatic escalation of President Trump’s aggressive language toward Iran, the president tweeted late Sunday that Iran would, if it threatened the United States, “suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before.”
The comments, which shocked both Iranian and American officials, were directed at Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and appeared to be in response to comments made earlier Sunday in which Rouhani cautioned diplomats in Iran against hostility, warning that “war with Iran is the mother of all wars and peace with Iran is the mother of all peace,” according to Iran’s state-owned Islamic Republic News Agency.
Writing in all caps, Trump responded, “NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN.”
Rouhani’s comments followed a speech by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in which Pompeo criticized the theocratic rulers of the country, accusing them of funding terrorism and accumulating wealth through corruption and at the expense of the Iranian people and their “prosperity, security, and freedom.” In his speech, Pompeo said the U.S. would step up a campaign to broadcast, across multiple platforms, a U.S. channel in Farsi that would encourage unrest in the country.
“You are not in a position to incite the Iranian nation against Iran’s security and interests,” Rouhani said in response.
This approach differs from the Obama administration’s efforts to negotiate with Tehran. The Trump administration, which withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal in May, is just a few weeks away from imposing sanctions suspended under the deal.
After Trump’s tweet, IRNA quoted a senior officer in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as saying Trump’s comments were “psychological warfare.”