War of words escalates as US wages ‘maximum pressure’ campaign on Iran

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COMBO – This combination of two pictures shows U.S. President Donald Trump, left, on July 22, 2018, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Feb. 6, 2018. In his latest salvo, Trump tweeted late on Sunday, July 22 that hostile threats from Iran could bring dire consequences. This was after Iranian President Rouhani remarked earlier in the day that “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 tweeted: “NEVER EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKE OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE.” (AP Photo)

U.S. President Donald Trump says he’s “not at all” concerned about provoking tensions with Iran. But Iran’s Foreign Minister is warning the U.S. to ‘BE CAUTIOUS!’

Washington and Tehran are engaged in a war-of-words as the U.S. prepares to reimpose sanctions on Iran –  two months after the Trump Administration’s withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear accord.

CGTN’s Nathan King explains the back-and-forth.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo outlined plans to re-impose financial and energy sanctions during a speech to Iranian-Americans and others in California on Sunday.

Sanctions will resume in August. China, Russia and the European Union are working to save the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. They’ve all vowed to continue trading with Iran but given U.S. opposition, difficult choices may have to be made.

On Sunday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned President Trump not to “play with the lion’s tail.”

Upping the tensions, President Trump responded on social media late Sunday – “NEVER EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE.”

Monday Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif fired back: “COLOR US UNIMPRESSED: The world heard even harsher bluster a few months ago. And Iranians have heard them -albeit more civilized ones_for 40 yrs. We’ve been around for millennia & seen fall of empires, incl our own, which lasted more than the life of some countries. BE CAUTIOUS!”

Asked at the White House if he had concerns about provoking Iran, Trump said simply, “None at all.”

Tehran knows what is coming from the administration as consequences of Trump’s May withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear accord take shape.

President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Dr Hassan Rouhani made explicit remarks against Trump at the meeting of the heads of Iranian missions abroad, saying: “Iran’s power is deterrent and we have no fight or war with anybody but the enemies must understand well that war with Iran is the mother of all wars and peace with Iran is the mother of all peace. We have never been intimidated and will respond threat with threat”.  PHOTO: www.president.ir

The first batch of U.S. sanctions will resume August 4. The sanctions will target Iran’s automotive sector along with its trade in gold and other metals. More significant sanctions take effect November 4. Those sanctions will hit Iran’s oil industry and central bank by punishing countries and companies that do business with them.

So could the escalation of threats lead to high-level talks like we saw with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea? There’s no sign of that – at least for now. The Trump administration has long advocated a tough line on Iran. According to White House Press Secretary Sarah Saunders the president’s ultimate goal and focus is making sure Iran never gets its hands on nuclear weapons. While many suspect the administration’s pressure campaign is aimed at regime change.


Negar Mortazai speaks on US-Iran tensions

CGTN’S Mike Walter sits down with Negar Mortazavi, an Iranian-American journalist, and the Washington correspondent for Iran International about U.S.-Iran tensions.