In a mostly caps tweet delivered after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani threatened war against the United States, President Donald Trump warned the Iranian leader that if he threatens the United States again “you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have suffered before.”
According to Reuters, Rouhani’s threat came in a speech before a group of Iranian diplomats on Sunday, when he warned Trump against pursuing renewed sanctions against Iran after pulling out of the Iran deal. In the comments, Rouhani seemed to echo the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein by promising that “war with Iran is the mother of all wars.”
“Mr. Trump, don’t play with the lion’s tail, this would only lead to regret,” Rouhani said.
“America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.”
(One notes that Saddam’s “mother of all battles” boast back in 1991 didn’t work out so well for him, but nevertheless, he persisted.)
Continuing to address Trump, Rouhani said, “You are not in a position to incite the Iranian nation against Iran’s security and interests,” apparently referencing reports that the Trump administration is trying to bolster opposition to Iran’s ruling regime as well as its nuclear program and support of terrorist organizations.
He also struck back at Trump’s threat to stop Iran’s oil shipments.
“Anyone who understands the rudiments of politics doesn’t say ‘we will stop Iran’s oil exports’…We have been the guarantor of the regional waterway’s security throughout history,” Rouhani warned, an apparent threat to close the Strait of Hormuz and shut down Gulf oil shipments completely.
That threat was echoed by the commander of Iran’s ground forces on the same day.
“The Strait of Hormuz region must either be safe for all or be insecure for everyone,” Gen. Kioumars Heydari said, according to Reuters.
In his late-night tweet from the White House on Sunday, Trump warned Rouhani of grave consequences if the saber-rattling continues.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2018
“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!” Trump wrote.
The president wasn’t the only administration figure warning the bellicose Rouhani about his activities on Sunday. In a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Southern California — home of the largest slice of the Iranian diaspora in the United States — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo compared the regime to a “mafia.”
“The ideologues who forcibly came to power in 1979 and remain in power today are driven by a desire to conform all of Iranian society to the tenants of the Islamic Revolution. The regime is also committed to spreading the revolution to other countries, by force if necessary,” CNN reported Pompeo as saying.
In the speech, Pompeo accused the supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, of maintaining an untaxed, off-the-books hedge fund worth $95 billion as a personal “slush fund.”
“The level of corruption and wealth among regime leaders shows that Iran is run by something that resembles the mafia more than a government,” Pompeo said.
“These hypocritical holy men have devised all kinds of crooked schemes to become some of the wealthiest men on Earth while their people suffer.”
Despite Rouhani’s strong statements, according to Reuters, he kept the door open for peace between the United States and his country. That’s a particularly wise idea, especially given Trump’s very unequivocal statement and what the Iranians stand to lose if they continue down the path they’re on.
It’s time, however, for the Islamic Republic to consider a real peace that involves dismantling its nuclear program for good and stopping its support for militant groups throughout the region.
The United States military has been invovled in something like the “mother of all wars” before — and it didn’t turn out so well for the army that was on the other side, or the now-dead dictator who commanded it.
One hopes the Iranians merely prefer the language of war as opposed to actually fomenting it. If not, they’re treading into very dangerous waters.
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