A top Iranian military commander responded angrily to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s threat to impose strong sanctions on Iran, saying the Islamic Republic would retaliate by punching Pompeo in the mouth.
In a speech Monday at the Heritage Foundation, Pompeo said the Trump administration will impose “the strongest sanctions in history” if Iran does not cease its missiles program, uranium work and state-sponsored terrorism.
“The sting of sanctions will be painful if the regime does not change its course from the unacceptable and unproductive path it has chosen to one that rejoins the league of nations,” Pompeo said. “This is just the beginning. The sting of sanctions will be painful. These will be the strongest sanctions in history when complete.”
“We will track down Iranian operatives and their Hezbollah proxies operating around the world and crush them,” he continued. “Iran will never again have carte blanche to dominate the Middle East.”
“Iran will be forced to make a choice,” Pompeo added. “Either fight to keep its economy off life support at home or keep squandering precious wealth on fights abroad. It won’t have the resources to do both.”
Ismal Kowsari, the deputy commander of the Sarollah Revolutionary Guards base in Tehran, responded to Pompeo’s threat on Tuesday, the Iranian Labour News Agency reported.
“The people of Iran should stand united in the face of this and they will deliver a strong punch to the mouth of the American secretary of state and anyone who backs them,” he said.
One of Pompeo’s key demands was for Iran to limit its missile capabilities.
Kosari’s response was less than cooperative.
“Who are you and America to tell us to limit the range of ballistic missiles?” he said, according to ILNA. “History has shown that with the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki America is the top criminal with regard to missiles.”
Iran’s government spokesman, Mohammad Baqer Nobakht, also spoke out against Pompeo’s demands, saying it would increase hostility from the Iranian people toward the United States.
“Do the Americans think that the silk glove that they’ve taken out and the iron hand that they’ve extended to the people, a hand that’s backed by Israel and the (Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization), will make Iranian people think that America wants democracy?” Nobakht said Tuesday, according to state media.
Pompeo made clear that the United States ultimately wants to enter into a treaty with Iran.
“We want to include Congress as a partner in this process,” he explained. “We want our efforts to have broad support among the American people and endure beyond the Trump administration. A treaty would be our preferred way to go.”
In a plea to the Iranian people directly, Pompeo urged them to choose peace.
“Today we ask the Iranian people — is this what you want your country to be known for? For being a co-conspirator with Hezbollah, Hamas, the Taliban and al Qaeda?” he said.
“The United States believes you deserve better.”
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