As European nations distanced themselves from Iran, threats flowed from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
“Today, the American soldier is in danger, tomorrow the European soldier could be in danger,” Rouhani said Wednesday, according to Time.
“We want you to leave this region, but not with war. We want you to go wisely. It is to your own benefit,” he said.
On Tuesday, Britain, France and Germany, which are all partners in the Iranian nuclear deal negotiated by former President Barack Obama but scorned by President Donald Trump, triggered what is known as a dispute mechanism in the treaty.
Depending upon the course of events, United Nations sanctions on Iran could return as a result of the European action, according to The Washington Post.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement condemning the action.
European nations that follow the U.S. in “subordinate way” and “abuse” the deal “must also prepare to accept the consequences,” the Foreign Ministry said.
“The EU should fulfill its commitments under the nuclear deal,” Rouhani said, according to CNBC. He also demanded an apology from the European nations.
“We delivered a slap to U.S.’s image as a superpower,” he said about Iran’s missile strike launched in response to the U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
Khamenei called Trump a “clown” whose public messages of support for the Iranian people were false. He said the U.S. president would “push a poisonous dagger” into their backs.
During his speech, he also described the Quds Force that Soleimani led as a “humanitarian organization with human values,” according to the BBC. The U.S. has labeled Quds Force a terrorist organization.
In a tweet Jan. 4, Trump said of Iran, “If they attack again, which I would strongly advise them not to do, we will hit them harder than they have ever been hit before!”
Although a major military clash between the U.S. and Iran appears to have been avoided, the same is not likely to be true of cyberspace, according to one expert.
“Cyber is the easiest way Iran can have a direct effect on the U.S. homeland,” Jon Bateman, a cyber policy fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said, according to Agence France-Presse.
“I don’t think we should believe everything is over,” he said.
Bateman said Iran might launch attacks on infrastructure, deploy ransomware or distribute disinformation on social media to impact the 2020 election.
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