November 15, 2019

Trump Threatens Iran with ‘Obliteration’ After Iran President Calls Trump ‘Mentally Retarded’

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks prior to signing an executive order establishing a White House Council on "Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing" in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., June 25, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Tensions between the United States and Iran continue to escalate as President Donald Trump threatened the regime with “obliteration” after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Trump was “mentally retarded.”

The Trump administration announced new sanctions on June 24 targeting Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his office and that sanctions later in the week would be placed on Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. Rouhani said in a June 25 speech that the sanctions against Khamenei wouldn’t be effective because the Iranian supreme leader doesn’t have any global assets, although there is evidence to the contrary. He also argued that the Trump administration is undermining efforts to negotiate through their pending sanctions on Zarif.

“The White House actions mean it is mentally retarded,” Rouhani said.

Trump tweeted in response, “Iran’s very ignorant and insulting statement, put out today, only shows that they do not understand reality. Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration. No more John Kerry & [Barack] Obama!”

Trump told reporters later in the day that he will not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons, but he said he’d still be willing to enter negotiations with the Iranian regime.

“When they’re ready, they have to let us know,” Trump said. “Whatever they want to do, I’m ready.”

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi tweeted that the latest round of sanctions ended any chance of negotiations.

“The useless sanctioning of Islamic Revolution Supreme Leader and the commander of Iranian diplomacy means closing the doors of diplomacy by the U.S.′ desperate administration,” Mousavi wrote. “Trump’s government is annihilating all the established international mechanisms for keeping peace and security in the world.”

Also on June 25, the national security advisers for the U.S., Israel and Russia all met in Jerusalem to discuss Iran. U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton called out Iran’s support for terrorism and accused the regime of continuing to develop nuclear weapons; however, he said that the door is still open for negotiations. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the summit as “unprecedented” and reiterated his declaration that Israel will ensure that Iran never obtains nuclear weapons.

Russian National Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, on the other hand, said that while Russia takes note of Israel’s security concerns, Iran fights terrorists in Syria. He also defended Iran’s claim that the downed U.S. drone on June 20 was flying over Iranian airspace; the U.S. has argued that the drone was flying in international airspace.