President Donald Trump on Tuesday tossed aside the diplomacy of the past few days and sent Iran a dose of his trademark tough talk.
Trump, who has said he wanted to leave the door open for talks with Iran if it would change its ways, fired off a barrage of tweets on the heels of a jab from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that the Trump White House was “afflicted by mental retardation.”
“Iran leadership doesn’t understand the words ‘nice’ or ‘compassion,’ they never have,” the president tweeted. “Sadly, the thing they do understand is Strength and Power, and the USA is by far the most powerful Military Force in the world, with 1.5 Trillion Dollars invested over the last two years alone.”
Trump then took a swipe at Iran’s leaders and their record of violence.
“The wonderful Iranian people are suffering, and for no reason at all,” he said. “Their leadership spends all of its money on Terror, and little on anything else. The U.S. has not forgotten Iran’s use of IED’s & EFP’s (bombs), which killed 2000 Americans, and wounded many more.”
The president then closed with a deadly promise.
“Iran’s very ignorant and insulting statement, put out today, only shows that they do not understand reality. Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration. No more John Kerry & Obama!” Trump tweeted in closing, referring to the Iran nuclear deal put in place by former President Barack Obama. Kerry was Obama’s secretary of state and has been accused of offering advice to Iran.
….Iran’s very ignorant and insulting statement, put out today, only shows that they do not understand reality. Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration. No more John Kerry & Obama!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 25, 2019
Tensions between the U.S. and Iran, which simmered throughout May, came to a boil last week after two tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman. The U.S. said Iran was responsible.
Iran then downed a U.S. surveillance drone that it claimed was over its airspace. The U.S. has said the drone was flying in international airspace.
Late last week, Trump called off a retaliatory attack on Iran, although a cyberattack to disrupt Iran’s missile capability was successfully launched.
Speaking in Jerusalem where he was meeting with officials of Russia and Israel, national security adviser John Bolton said Tuesday that Iran “should not mistake [restraint] as a sign of weakness.”
Bolton said that until Iran stops trying to get its hands on nuclear weapons, “all options are on the table.”
“They should give up their pursuit of deliverable nuclear weapons. They should make that strategic step, they have not done it yet,” he said, adding, “All around the Middle East, we see Iran as the source of belligerence and aggression.”
Bolton said Trump “has held the door open for real negotiations, to completely and verifiably eliminate Iran’s nuclear weapons program, its pursuit of ballistic missile delivery systems, its support of international terrorism and its other maligning behavior worldwide. All Iran needs to do is walk through that open door.”
However, Abbas Mousavi, a spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, said the “channel of diplomacy” was closed by the package of sanctions the U.S. announced Monday in response to Iran’s actions, Fox News reported.
Bolton said the U.S. is trying to avoid war.
“As we speak, US diplomats are surging across the Middle East seeking a path to peace,” he said. “In response Iran’s silence is deafening.
“Iran’s provocations, which also include threats to and acts upon American personnel and assets in the Middle East, are the external manifestations of the essential threat Iran poses, namely its continued pursuit of deliverable nuclear weapons.”
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