President Donald Trump, in a tweet in capital letters late Sunday night, warned Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that if Iran threatened the United States again, it would face severe consequences, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States would step up broadcasts into Iran that could destabilize the country’s theocratic rulers.
Iran’s state-owned Islamic Republic News Agency replied within hours, dismissing Trump’s tweet and describing it as a “passive reaction” to Rouhani’s remarks.
Earlier Sunday, Rouhani said the United States should avoid inciting Iranians against the government as the Trump administration is poised to reimpose sanctions suspended under the 2015 nuclear deal that Trump withdrew from in May.
Hassan Rouhani said the United States should avoid inciting Iranians against the government“America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars,” Rouhani told a meeting of Iranian diplomats, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency.“You are not in a position to incite the Iranian nation against Iran’s security and interests,” Rouhani said.
The escalation of bellicose rhetoric comes just three weeks before the first round of banking sanctions suspended under the nuclear deal is reimposed. Bigger sanctions, which will take effect in November, are aimed at cutting off virtually all of Iran’s oil market.Pompeo on Sunday launched a harsh attack on Iran’s clerical and military rulers, calling them a kleptocracy akin to the Mafia.
“The level of corruption and wealth among regime leaders shows that Iran is run by something that resembles the Mafia more than a government,” he said in speech made to a largely Iranian American audience at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. Pompeo was introduced by Fred Ryan, publisher of The Washington Post and chairman of the Ronald Reagan Foundation.
Pompeo said the administration has concluded that Tehran has no statesmen willing to moderate its policies, a sharp break from the Obama administration, which negotiated the nuclear deal hoping an improving economy would give relative pragmatists like Rouhani a boost.But Pompeo said Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif are “merely polished frontmen for the Ayatollah’s international con artistry. Their nuclear deal didn’t make them moderates, it made them wolves in sheep’s clothing.”
He stopped short of calling for regime change, but he announced stepped-up U.S. government broadcasting in Farsi that is likely to foment further unrest against the government.
He said the US Broadcasting Board of Governors is taking steps to circumvent internet censorship in Iran, and creating a round-the-clock Farsi channel across television, radio, digital and social media formats.