After Trump tweet, White House says Iran, not US, is ‘inciting’
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After Trump tweet, White House says Iran, not US, is ‘inciting’

Sarah Sanders denies US president is escalating tensions with Tehran via social media warning

US President Donald Trump addresses the Pledge to America's Workers event at the White House in Washington, DC on July 20, 2018 (AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski)
US President Donald Trump addresses the Pledge to America's Workers event at the White House in Washington, DC on July 20, 2018 (AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski)

The White House on Monday said US President Donald Trump’s threatening tweet shows he’s not going to tolerate critical rhetoric from Iran, but claimed the US leader isn’t escalating tensions between the two countries.

US Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that “if anybody’s inciting anything, look no further than to Iran.”

Sanders said Trump has been “very clear about what he’s not going to allow to take place.”

Her comments followed a late-night tweet from the president Sunday addressed to Iran’s leaders: “NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE.”

Trump was responding to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani comments that “America must understand well that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a joint press conference with Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz following a meeting on July 4, 2018 at the Chancellery in Vienna. (AFP PHOTO / ALEX HALADA)

Sanders said Trump is not trying to change the conversation from his much-criticized Helsinki summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week.

Also Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Trump’s “tough stand” against Iran after the US leader issued a stark warning to the Islamic Republic.

“I would like to praise the tough stand expressed yesterday by President Trump and Secretary of State (Mike) Pompeo against the aggression of the Iranian regime,” Netanyahu said at the start of a cabinet meeting.

“Over the years, this regime has been spoiled by the major powers and it is good to see that the US is changing this unacceptable equation.”

Trump’s comments came after Pompeo, in a major address to the Iranian diaspora in California, said Washington was not afraid to sanction top-ranking leaders of the “nightmare” Iranian regime.

Netanyahu lobbied hard to have the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers cancelled, and Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement in May.

All other parties to the deal — Russia, Britain, France, Germany and China — have sought to keep the deal in effect, saying it is working as intended by preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons for now.

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