US President Donald Trump on Tuesday tweeted threatening Iran after the country's President Hassan Rouhani called American sanctions against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei 'outrageous and idiotic'. A furious Rouhani in a televised address also said that the 'White House is afflicted by mental retardation and does not know what to do'.
Trump took to Twitter and called Iran's President's comment a "very ignorant and insulting statement."
He threatened Iran where he said that an Iranian attack on any American interest will be met with "great and overwhelming force" and in some areas, "overwhelming will mean obliteration."
Trump also said that Iranian leaders spend their money on supporting militant groups and don't care about the Iranian people who are suffering under economic sanctions.
The latest verbal volleys between Tehran and Washington followed the U.S. decision on Monday to levy financial sanctions Iran's supreme leader and his associates.
Iran had earlier on Tuesday warned that new US sanctions targeting its supreme leader and other top officials meant "closing the doors of diplomacy" between Tehran and Washington amid heightened tensions, even as the country's president derided the White House as being "afflicted by mental retardation."
President Hassan Rouhani went on to call the sanctions against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei "outrageous and idiotic," especially since the 80-year-old Shiite cleric has no plans to travel to the United States. Yet the sharp response from Tehran shows the pressure that the nation's Shiite theocracy and its 80 million people feel over the maximalist campaign of sanctions by the Trump administration.
From Israel, President Donald Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton said Iran could walk through an "open door" to talks with America, though he also warned that "all options remain on the table" if Tehran makes good on its promise to begin breaking one limit from its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. While resembling the exchange of insults just before North Korea's leader and Trump sat down for talks, Iran so far appears to have no interest in negotiations.
"The useless sanctioning of Islamic Revolution Supreme Leader (Khamenei) and the commander of Iranian diplomacy means closing the doors of diplomacy by the U.S.' desperate administration," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi tweeted. "Trump's government is annihilating all the established international mechanisms for keeping peace and security in the world."
The crisis gripping the Middle East stems from Trump's withdrawal of the U.S. a year ago from the nuclear deal with Iran and other world powers and then imposing crippling new sanctions on Tehran.
Recently, Iran quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium to be on pace to break one of the deal's terms by Thursday, while also threatening to raise enrichment closer to weapons-grade levels on July 7 if European countries still abiding by the accord don't offer a new deal. Citing unspecified Iranian threats, the U.S. has sent an aircraft carrier to the Middle East and deployed additional troops alongside the tens of thousands already there. All this has raised fears that a miscalculation or further rise in tensions could push the U.S. and Iran into an open conflict, 40 years after the Islamic Revolution.
Trump enacted the new sanctions against Khamenei and his associates on Monday. That action followed Iran's downing on June 20 of a U.S. surveillance drone, worth over $100 million, above the Strait of Hormuz, sharply escalating the crisis. Trump then said he pulled back from the brink of retaliatory military strikes but continued his pressure campaign against Iran.
U.S. officials also said they plan sanctions against Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, something that drew Rouhani's anger during his televised address Tuesday.
"You sanction the foreign minister simultaneously with a request for talks," an exasperated Rouhani said, calling the sanctions "outrageous and idiotic." "The White House is afflicted by mental retardation and does not know what to do," he added.