President Donald Trump on Sunday warned Iran of consequences “the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered,” if it threatens the United States.
“NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE,” he said on Twitter in a direct message to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
“WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!” Trump said, writing the entire message in capital letters.
The response came after Rouhani earlier Sunday issued his own warning to the US leader not to “play with the lion’s tail,” saying that conflict with Iran would be the “mother of all wars.”
The high-stakes verbal sparring is reminiscent of the exchanges Trump had last year with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, before tensions eased and the two leaders met this year in an historic summit.
Trump has made Iran a favorite target since his unexpected rapprochement with nuclear-armed North Korea.
Earlier Sunday US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the United States is not “afraid to tackle” Iranian officials with sanctions at the “highest level” of its government.
Following the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear accord that stunned even Washington’s closest European allies, Pompeo on May 21 unveiled a “new strategy” intended to force Iran to yield to a dozen stringent demands.
“We weren’t afraid to tackle the regime at its highest level,” Pompeo said in a speech in California, referring to sanctions leveled in January against Sadeq Larijani, the head of Iran’s judiciary.
In a highly critical broadside issued as the republic approached the 40th anniversary of its Islamic revolution and the US prepared to reimpose the economic sanctions, Pompeo said the government has “heartlessly repressed its own people’s human rights, dignity and fundamental freedoms.”
Going beyond the Iranian political and military echelon, Pompeo called the religious leaders of Iran “hypocritical holy men” who he said amassed vast sums of wealth while allowing their people to suffer.
“Sometimes it seems the world has become desensitized to the regime’s authoritarianism at home and its campaigns of violence abroad, but the proud Iranian people are not staying silent about their government’s many abuses,” the US’s top diplomat charged.
“And the United States under President Trump will not stay silent either. In light of these protests and 40 years of regime tyranny, I have a message for the people of Iran: The United States hears you. The United States supports you. The United States is with you,” he said.