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Trump Threatens to ‘Obliterate’ Iran if it Attacks US

Trump Threatens to ‘Obliterate’ Iran if it Attacks US

Tuesday, 25 June, 2019 - 18:00
US President Donald Trump. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
President Donald Trump threatened on Tuesday Iran with “obliteration” if it attacks the United States after Tehran said the latest US sanctions had scuttled any chance of diplomacy.

Trump on Monday signed an executive order imposing sanctions against Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei and other senior figures, with punitive measures against Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif expected later this week.

Shortly after, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said imposing “useless sanctions” on Khamenei and Zarif would mark “the permanent closure of the path of diplomacy ...

The moves came after Iran shot down a US drone on June 20 and Trump called off a retaliatory air strike minutes before impact, saying too many people would have been killed.

On Tuesday, however, Trump tweeted: “Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration.”

"Iran leadership doesn't understand the words 'nice' or 'compassion,' they never have," Trump tweeted.

"The wonderful Iranian people are suffering, and for no reason at all. Their leadership spends all of its money on Terror, and little on anything else."

In a televised address on Tuesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the new sanctions against Khamenei would have no practical impact because the top cleric had no assets abroad.

Rouhani, a pragmatist who won two elections on promises to open Iran up to the world, said the White House’s actions were “mentally retarded” - an insult that other Iranian officials have used in the past about Trump, but a departure from Rouhani’s own comparatively measured tone over the years.

“Tehran’s strategic patience does not mean we have fear,” said Rouhani.

The United States has imposed crippling financial sanctions against Iran since last year when Trump withdrew from a 2015 deal between Tehran and world powers under which it curbed its nuclear program and won a removal of sanctions in return.

The crisis has escalated sharply since last month when the Trump administration tightened its sanctions noose, ordering all countries to halt purchases of Iranian oil.

That has effectively starved the Iranian economy of the main source of revenue Tehran uses to import food for its 81 million people, and left the pragmatic wing of Iran’s leadership, led by Rouhani, with no benefits to show for its nuclear agreement.

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