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Trump Fires Off Explosive Threat to Iran’s Leader

July 23, 2018

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has warned Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that he will face dire consequences for threatening the United States.

Trump tweeted late on Sunday about the dangers to Iran of making hostile threats after Rouhani said Sunday “American must understand well that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.” Trump responded with a tweet that warned: “NEVER EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKE OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE.”

Within hours, Iranian state-owned news agency IRNA dismissed Trump’s tweet, describing it as a “passive reaction” to Rouhani’s remarks.

The agency, a government mouthpiece, also said Monday that Trump’s comment was only mimicking and copying Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif who had in the past warned the West to “never threaten an Iranian.”

Trump earlier this year pulled the United States out of the international deal meant to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon and ordered increased American sanctions.

Rouhani had warned Trump Sunday to stop “playing with the lion’s tail” and threatening Iran, “or else you will regret it.”

Trump has suggested Iranian leaders are “going to call me and say ‘let’s make a deal'” but Iran has rejected talks.

Rouhani has previously lashed out against Trump for threatening to re-impose the sanctions, as well as for moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and banning travel to the U.S. from certain Muslim-majority countries.

Trump’s tweet suggested he has little patience with the trading of hostile messages with Iran, using exceptionally strong language and writing an all-capitalized tweet.

“WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!,” he wrote.

Trump has a history of firing off heated tweets that seem to quickly escalate long-standing disputes with leaders of nations at odds with the U.S.

In the case of North Korea, the public war of words cooled quickly and gradually led to the high profile summit and denuclearization talks.

On Sunday in California, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was strongly critical of Iran.

He called the religious leaders of Iran “hypocritical holy men” who amassed vast sums of wealth while allowing their people to suffer, part of a highly critical broadside issued as the republic approached the 40th anniversary of its Islamic revolution and the U.S. prepared to reimpose the economic sanctions.

Pompeo talked about increasing the media outreach to the Iranian people. He said the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors is taking new steps to help Iranians get around internet censorship and is launching a new 24/7 Farsi-language channel across television, radio, digital, and social media formats, “so that ordinary Iranians inside Iran and around the globe can know America stands with them.”

In the speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Pompeo castigated Iran’s political, judicial and military leaders, too, accusing several by name of participating in widespread corruption. He also said the government has “heartlessly repressed its own people’s human rights, dignity and fundamental freedoms.”

He said despite poor treatment by their leaders, “the proud Iranian people are not staying silent about their government’s many abuses,” Pompeo said.

“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,” he said. “The United States supports you. The United States is with you.”

___

By WILL LESTER , Associated Press

Associated Press writers Nasser Karimi and Amir Vahdat in Tehran, Iran, contributed to this story.

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