Women wearing chadors walk across a busy pedestrian crossing in Tehran, Iran, on Monday, Jan. 8, 2018. Photographer: Ali Mohammadi/Bloomberg
U.S. President Donald Trump launched a new broadside against Iran, warning of unspecified “consequences” if counterpart Hassan Rouhani again threatened America.
In a Twitter post late Sunday, Trump 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!”
The comment — similar in tone and wording he used last year in warning North Korea about its rapidly improving nuclear weapons program — came hours after Rouhani said the U.S. risked the “mother of all wars” in a conflict with Iran. In a speech, Rouhani warned his U.S. counterpart against threatening the nation’s oil exports and called for improved relations with its neighbors, including arch-rival Saudi Arabia.
Trump is reimposing sanctions on Iran, which ships most of its oil through the Strait of Hormuz, in an effort to squelch the country’s oil sales. Hormuz, a shipping chokepoint at the mouth of the Gulf, is a conduit for tankers carrying about 30 percent of all seaborne-traded crude oil and other liquids.
Also Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo delivered a speech on Iran policy in southern California accusing the country’s leaders of corruption and urging European allies to join the U.S. in a pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic. Pompeo said Iran’s leadership is made up of “hypocritical holy men” responsible for “crooked schemes” that have hurt the country’s economy and citizens.
Pompeo said America stands in solidarity with Iranians and reiterated that the U.S. expects countries to “significantly” reduce their dependence on Iranian oil or face tough new sanctions after Nov. 4.
“While it is ultimately up to the Iranian people to determine the direction of their country, the United States, in the spirit of our own freedoms, will support the long-ignored voice of the Iranian people,” Pompeo said in the speech in Simi Valley, California. The audience included Iranian-Americans, Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton — a leading Iran critic in Congress — and former California Governor Pete Wilson.
The speech was the latest in a wave of U.S. criticism as the Trump administration seeks to marshal support for its plan to reimpose sanctions against Iran — and punish anyone who does business with it — in the weeks since the U.S. pulled out of the 2015 accord to limit Iran’s nuclear program in May.
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