Iranian officer: US secretary of state deserves ‘strong punch to the mouth’

Ismail Kowsari of Revolutionary Guard lashes back at Pompeo for threatening ‘the strongest sanctions in history’ on Tehran

General Ismail Kowsari, Deputy Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Tharallah base, seen on Al-Alam TV on September 27, 2017. (YouTube screenshot/Middle East Media Research Institute)
General Ismail Kowsari, Deputy Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Tharallah base, seen on Al-Alam TV on September 27, 2017. (YouTube screenshot/Middle East Media Research Institute)

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo deserves a “strong punch to the mouth” for threatening to ratchet up sanctions on Tehran, a senior officer in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said Monday.

“The people of Iran should stand united in the face of this and they will deliver a strong punch to the mouth of the American Secretary of State and anyone who backs them,” said Ismail Kowsari, according to Reuters.

On Monday, Pompeo said the Trump administration was preparing to impose “the strongest sanctions in history” on Tehran after withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal earlier this month, as he laid out a list of demands for a new treaty.

“Who are you and America to tell us to limit the range of ballistic missiles?” Kowsari said, referring to Pompeo’s demand that Iran end its proliferation of ballistic missiles and halt further launching or development of nuclear-capable missile systems.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lays out the Trump administration’s new Iran strategy at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative public policy think tank, in Washington, on May 21, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

“History has shown that with the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, America is the top criminal with regard to missiles,” he said.

Kowsari declared that the Iranian people supported Qassem Soleimani, who heads the Revolutionary Guards’s Quds Force tasked with operations outside of Iran.

Soleimani is assumed to have masterminded the firing from Syria of dozens of rockets at Israeli military positions on the Golan Heights earlier this month.

Four of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, while the rest fell short of the border and landed in Syria. In response to the attack, Israel conducted dozens of raids against Iranian targets in Syria, hitting approximately 50 positions.

In his speech, Pompeo argued that Iran had advanced its march across the Middle East precisely because of  the nuclear deal, which saw the West lifting sanctions on Tehran in return for Iran limiting its nuclear program.

“Qassem Soleimani has been playing with house money that has become blood money. Wealth created by the West has fueled his campaigns,” he said.

Islamic Revolutionary Guards al-Quds Force commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.(YouTube screenshot)

“We will apply unprecedented financial pressure on the Iranian regime,” Pompeo told the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank based in the nation’s capital, in his first major speech outlining Washington’s strategy for curtailing Iran’s nuclear ambitions and its “malign” regional behavior.

“The sting of sanctions will only grow more painful if the regime does not change course from the unacceptable and unproductive path it has chosen for itself and the people of Iran,” he added.

“Sanctions are going back in full effect, and new ones are coming,” he warned further. “The Iranian regime should know this is just the beginning.”

US President Donald Trump’s newly installed top diplomat also hinted at the possibility of military action should Iranian leaders reconstitute their nuclear program.

“If they restart their nuclear program, they will have big problems, bigger problems than they’ve ever had before,” he said. Pompeo also threatened to “crush” Iran’s terrorist proxies around the world.”

Pompeo demanded that Iran come clean about all of its past nuclear work, completely stop its uranium enrichment, provide the International Atomic Energy Agency “unqualified access to all sites throughout the country,” halt its ballistic missile development and testing, end its support for Middle East terrorist groups and respect the sovereignty of the Iraqi government.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is interviewed by The Associated Press in New York, April 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

The Iranian ILNA news site also carried a statement on Monday from the foreign ministry in Tehran, which said Pompeo’s remarks revealed the “poor intelligence, weak oversight, analytical backwardness and confusion in decision-making processes in the United States.”

The US, the statement went on, was “not entitled” to tell Iran what policies it should adopt in its own region, given that “all the problems facing the Middle East… emanate from the interference and encroachment of Washington and the medieval dictatorial governments of its allies.”

Iran, by contrast, was bringing “stabilizing and anti-terrorism measures” to the region and to the world.

The statement said Tehran regarded Pompeo’s “brazen remarks” as “gross interference in its domestic affairs and an illegal threat against a member of the United Nations.”

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