Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday warned the US not to threaten Iran with sanctions, saying American President Donald Trump’s brow-beating would see a response in the coming days.
“Trump says fear me! No. The Iranian nation will respond to your comments with a demonstration on the 10th of February,” Khamenei said in a speech to military officers in Tehran on Tuesday. “They will show others what kind of stance the nation of Iran takes when threatened,” he said.
His comments came in the wake of Trump’s statement to reporters on Thursday about whether a military response to Iran was under consideration, following Tehran’s illicit ballistic missile test.
“Nothing is off the table,” Trump replied, borrowing a phrase Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has used for years vis-à-vis Tehran’s nuclear program. Days earlier, a top US administration official had said Iran was “on notice.”
Khamenei also responded to Trump’s tweet of February 3, which said: “Iran is playing with fire — they don’t appreciate how ‘kind’ President Obama was to them.”
The leader ridiculed the idea of being grateful to former president Barack Obama, saying he was the one who placed “paralyzing sanctions” on Iran.
“The new US president says Iran should thank Obama! Why?!” Khamenei posted on his website. “Should we thank him for [creating] ISIS, the ongoing wars in Iraq and Syria, or the blatant support for the 2009 sedition in Iran? He was the president who imposed paralyzing sanctions on the Iranian nation; of course, he did not achieve what he desired. No enemy can ever paralyze the Iranian nation.”
Khamenei also told the officers that Trump had revealed the true colors of the US.
“We are thankful to this gentleman… he showed the real face of America,” Khamenei said.
“What we have said for more than 30 years — that there is political, economic, moral and social corruption in the ruling system of the US — this gentleman came and brought it out into the open in the election and after the election.”
He referred to the case of a young Iranian boy who had been held at a US airport following Trump’s ban on visas for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran.
“By what he does — handcuffing a 5-year-old child — he shows the true meaning of American human rights,” Khamenei said.
Earlier, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that with Trump in the White House, Tehran faced “difficult days ahead” regarding its nuclear deal with Washington and other major powers, which Trump has indicated he may seek to alter.
“I believe Trump may try to renegotiate” the deal, but “clearly, neither Iran, nor the Europeans or the international community, will accept new negotiations,” Zarif told Ettelaat, an Iranian newspaper, in an interview published Tuesday.
Trump is slated to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next week and Iran is expected to be at the top of the agenda. Netanyahu has called on Trump and others to impose new sanctions on Iran following the ballistic missile test.