Trump tweets explosive threat to Iran

President Donald Trump issued a furious, all-caps challenge to the Iranian regime late Sunday night, warning that any...

Posted: Jul 23, 2018 8:37 PM
Updated: Jul 23, 2018 8:37 PM

President Donald Trump issued a furious, all-caps challenge to the Iranian regime late Sunday night, warning that any threats to the US would be met with unspecified dire consequences.

The tirade signaled an immediate escalation of tensions between Washington and Tehran, and capped a weekend of angry tweets by the President on the Russia investigation and the legal problems facing his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen.

"To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE," Trump tweeted after returning to the White House from a weekend at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey. "WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!"

Trump's comments were in response to earlier remarks by Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, who warned the US that war with Tehran would be the "mother of all wars."

Rouhani warned Trump not to "play with the lion's tail, because you will regret it eternally." He also held out the possibility of a peaceful relationship with the US, in remarks reported by Iranian state media.

On Monday, a senior officer in Iran's Revolutionary Guards, Commander General Gholam Hossein Gheibparvar, described Trump's remarks as "psychological warfare," the semi-official ISNA news agency reported.

Even before Trump's tweet, his administration had already intensified the rhetoric against the regime.

In a blistering speech earlier Sunday evening, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo likened the Iranian regime to the mafia, accusing the clerics that rule the country of enriching themselves and funding terrorism at the expense of ordinary Iranians.

"To the regime, prosperity, security, and freedom for the Iranian people are acceptable casualties in the march to fulfill the Revolution," Pompeo said in remarks delivered at the Ronald Reagan National Library in Simi Valley, California.

"The level of corruption and wealth among regime leaders shows that Iran is run by something that resembles the mafia more than a government."

Among the most startling allegations leveled by Pompeo, who was CIA director before becoming secretary of state, was that Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has a personal hedge fund worth $95 billion.

Strong language

Trump's broadside against Rouhani had echoes of his approach to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, whom he taunted and threatened on social media before agreeing to a summit.

Yet even by Trump's standards, the language was harsh, and surprised many Middle East watchers.

"We've seen a lot of very bellicose words from Mr. Trump in the past, but this tweet ... I think it takes it to a new level," said CNN military analyst Rick Francona.

"This seems to be a little out of character and really a little alarming for many people," said Francona, a former US Air Force intelligence officer who worked in the Middle East and retired as a lieutenant colonel. "This is really dangerous."

Asked if Trump risked inciting a war with Iran with the tweet, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Monday morning, "if anybody is inciting anything, look no further than to Iran." She wouldn't directly say whether Trump consulted with his national security team before the tweet. He speaks with them daily, she said, but declined to give any details about any steps Trump is looking to take with Iran.

"The President's been, I think, pretty strong since day one in his language toward Iran. He was responding to comments made from them, and he's going to continue to focus on the safety and security of American people," Sanders said at the White House briefing later Monday. She declined repeated questions about whether Trump would consider meeting with Rouhani.

Later Monday morning, national security adviser John Bolton said Trump told him that "if Iran does anything at all to the negative, they will pay a price like few countries have ever paid before."

John Rood, the Pentagon's undersecretary of defense for policy, told CNN's Barbara Starr at the Aspen Security Conference in Aspen, Colorado, on Friday that the US hadn't adjusted its military posture in response to threats from Iran.

"I don't think that's warranted. I wouldn't recommend that," he said.

Hard line against Iran

Trump came into office vowing to take a hard line on Iran and scrap the Obama-negotiated nuclear deal of 2015, a promise he fulfilled in May.

The agreement forced Iran to curtail its uranium enrichment capacity to prevent it developing nuclear weapons, and imposed stringent verification processes, in exchange for relief on crippling sanctions.

One of Trump's many criticisms of the accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was that it did not do enough to stop Iran from funding extremist groups throughout the Middle East.

The other signatories to the deal have vowed to stand by it.

For its part, Iran has shown no signs of reneging on the deal, motivated by the benefits of sanctions relief. But Washington is preparing to reimpose some of the punishing sanctions that brought Iran to the table in the first place.

"Right now, the United States is undertaking a diplomatic and financial pressure campaign to cut off the funds that the regime uses to enrich itself and support death and destruction," Pompeo said Sunday.

"We are asking every nation who is sick and tired of the Islamic Republic's destructive behavior to join our pressure campaign."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 265146

Reported Deaths: 5777
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17741191
Hinds16891332
Harrison14279204
Rankin11239220
Jackson10917190
Lee9071145
Madison8599169
Jones6731118
Forrest6208124
Lauderdale6121192
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Washington4933125
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Marshall357170
Union356864
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Neshoba3490154
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Lincoln306788
Hancock294262
Sunflower291975
Tate280662
Alcorn273154
Pike270181
Itawamba269363
Scott260048
Yazoo256756
Prentiss253754
Coahoma249755
Copiah249749
Tippah249750
Simpson242872
Leake238167
Marion224273
Grenada223972
Covington221073
Adams215171
Wayne213734
Winston207671
George204739
Newton199946
Attala197064
Tishomingo194961
Chickasaw189344
Jasper181138
Holmes172068
Clay166837
Tallahatchie157235
Stone152525
Clarke148162
Calhoun141322
Smith130026
Yalobusha123335
Walthall114537
Greene113729
Noxubee113026
Montgomery112036
Carroll106822
Lawrence106817
Perry105131
Amite102126
Webster96824
Tunica89021
Claiborne88825
Jefferson Davis88430
Benton85823
Humphreys84724
Kemper80920
Quitman7139
Franklin70617
Choctaw63713
Wilkinson59825
Jefferson56821
Sharkey45217
Issaquena1606
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 441170

Reported Deaths: 6660
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson646811007
Mobile31620572
Madison28310217
Tuscaloosa21525275
Montgomery19954332
Shelby19335132
Baldwin17256189
Lee13205107
Morgan12639142
Etowah12107181
Calhoun11521206
Marshall10471123
Houston9009164
Limestone834981
Cullman8274124
Elmore8214110
DeKalb7894107
Lauderdale7871107
St. Clair7854130
Talladega6481112
Walker6036183
Jackson601545
Colbert549994
Blount547386
Autauga537662
Coffee462464
Dale410785
Franklin374950
Russell357515
Chilton345473
Covington339680
Escambia335444
Tallapoosa3149109
Dallas313296
Chambers304270
Clarke300236
Pike262531
Lawrence254155
Marion253761
Winston233642
Bibb222348
Geneva211547
Marengo209331
Pickens199631
Hale185244
Barbour182738
Fayette178629
Butler174460
Cherokee165731
Henry159925
Monroe152421
Randolph146436
Washington142327
Clay130546
Crenshaw124045
Macon122337
Cleburne121825
Lamar120222
Lowndes115536
Wilcox107922
Bullock103528
Perry100018
Conecuh97922
Sumter90527
Greene77923
Coosa63618
Choctaw51924
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