A top Iranian politician has said Tehran will “catch” US President Donald Trump and “place him on trial” for his actions against Iran and others.
Mohsen Rezaei, former commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and currently the secretary of the Expediency Council, which advises Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told Iran’s Channel 2: “Ultimately, we will catch Trump and place him on trial, God willing. An international court will convene and Trump will have to stand trial. He should stand trial not just for what he did to our people, but for his crimes against other nations as well.”
In the September 22 interview, translated and made available by the Middle East Media Research Institute, Rezaei mocked Washington for failing to respond to Tehran’s downing of an American surveillance drone, and said the US was not proving to be much of an ally to Iran’s regional foe Saudi Arabia.
“When the Americans are incapable of retaliating against Iran for the downing of their ultra-secret plane, would they be able to help Saudi Arabia? They cannot defend themselves, so how would they defend Saudi Arabia? Everybody has received that message,” he said.
Tensions have risen in the Persian Gulf since May last year when Trump unilaterally abandoned a 2015 nuclear deal between major powers and Iran and began reimposing crippling sanctions in a campaign of “maximum pressure.”
They flared again this May when Iran began reducing its own commitments under the deal and the US deployed military assets to the region.
Since then, ships have been attacked, drones downed and oil tankers seized. This month, twin attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure, which knocked out half the kingdom’s production, drew accusations of blame from Washington and Europe.
Tehran has denied any involvement in the attacks which were claimed by Iran-backed rebels fighting a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.
“Mr. Trump has already played all his cards,” Rezaei said. “He has already fired all his bullets. Now he is standing in front of us with no bullets, and the world is laughing at him. In the future, it will be even worse.”
He added that the Persian Gulf would not be safe until Western forces depart from the region.
“As long as America, England, and other foreign countries wish to remain in the region, the lack of security of the past 40 years will continue,” he stated. “The first condition for security is the independence of [the region’s] countries.
“The day the Americans leave the region, all the countries will become friends with one another.”
On Friday Iranian President Hassan Rouhani claimed the US had offered to lift all sanctions against Tehran if Iran agreed to come to the table for nuclear talks, the Reuters news agency reported. The claim was immediately denied by Trump.
Despite Iran previously saying it would only talk if the sanctions were lifted, Rouhani said Tehran rejected the offer because of the current “toxic atmosphere,” referring to the US policy of maximum pressure against Iran.
On Thursday, Rouhani urged the US to “cease this policy of maximum pressure,” saying it was driving the possibility of negotiations even further away.
Addressing the UN on Wednesday, he accused the United States of “merciless economic terrorism” stressing that security in the Persian Gulf can be guaranteed only when his nation’s security is as well.
Agencies contributed to this report.