President Barack Obama is a “low-IQ US president,” whose threat to launch a military offensive should nuclear talks fail is an oft-cited punchline in the Islamic Republic, particularly among children, an Iranian general said on Tuesday.
“The low-IQ US president and his country’s Secretary of State John Kerry speak of the effectiveness of ‘the US options on the table’ on Iran while this phrase is mocked at and has become a joke among the Iranian nation, especially the children,” General Masoud Jazayeri said, according to the semi-official Fars News Agency.
Jazayeri was responding to the US president’s interview in Bloomberg on Sunday, in which Obama maintained that the Iranian leadership should take his “all options on the table” stance — including the warning of a potential military strike — seriously.
“We have a high degree of confidence that when they look at 35,000 US military personnel in the region that are engaged in constant training exercises under the direction of a president who already has shown himself willing to take military action in the past, that they should take my statements seriously,” the president told Bloomberg.
Jazayeri called Obama’s statements regarding the deployment of US troops “completely inexpert remarks far from the reality, and these statements can be used as the joke of the year.”
The Iranian news agency Tuesday published a political cartoon mocking the US president, calling it: “All Options on Table.” This Time for Russia.” In a jab at US non-intervention in Ukraine, the cartoon portrays Obama peering forlornly into an empty paint can with the label “Red Line” while Russian President Vladimir Putin walks away saying, “I think you used it all on Syria.”
The Iranian general also issued a warning to Obama that should US forces make a move, “the region will be turned into a hell for them.”
Jazayeri is the second high-ranking official to castigate Obama since the interview was published Sunday. On Monday night, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham panned Obama’s comments for undermining the diplomatic process.
“One part of the remarks made by the US president is in contradiction to the principles of the international law and against the spirit of diplomatic negotiations meant to prevent unconstructive slogans and resorting to threats,” Afkham said.
Under an interim deal clinched in November, Iran agreed to curb parts of its nuclear program for six months in exchange for limited sanctions relief. The agreement came into effect on January 20.
Negotiators from the P5+1 group of world powers — the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia plus Germany — are set to resume talks on a permanent accord with Iranian nuclear negotiators on March 17 in Vienna.
“The (nuclear) negotiations are going well … I’m hoping by the first deadline (July 20) we will reach an agreement,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters on the sidelines of an event in New Delhi on February 28.
However, he said that there were still disagreements between the sides, referencing a “problem in terms of both substance and approach.” He added that Iran would not get rid of its enrichment program.
“I can tell you that Iran’s nuclear program will remain intact. We will not close any program,” he said, according to Reuters.
Western nations and Israel have long suspected Iran of pursuing a nuclear weapons capability alongside its civilian program, charges denied by Tehran.
AFP and Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.