Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Monday the “genocidal taunts” of US President Donald Trump will not “end Iran”, as tensions spike between the two countries.
“Iranians have stood tall for millennia while aggressors all gone. Economic terrorism and genocidal taunts won’t ‘end Iran’,” Zarif wrote on Twitter.
“Never threaten an Iranian. Try respect — it works!” he added.
The riposte by Iran’s top diplomat follows an ominous warning by Trump, who on Sunday suggested the Islamic republic would be destroyed if it attacked US interests.
“If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again,” Trump tweeted.
Relations between Washington and Tehran plummeted a year ago when Trump pulled out of a landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and imposed tough sanctions.
Iranian officials have repeatedly slammed the unilateral US sanctions as “economic terrorism,” saying that they have impeded the flow of essential goods.
Tensions have risen further this month with Washington announcing more economic measures against Tehran, before deploying a carrier group and B-52 bombers to the Gulf over unspecified alleged Iranian “threats”.
The Trump administration last week ordered non-essential diplomatic staff out of Iraq, citing the danger posted by Iranian-backed Iraqi armed groups.
On Sunday a rocket was fired into the Green Zone of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, which houses government offices and embassies including the US mission. It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack.
While the US claim of Iranian “threats” has been met with widespread scepticism outside the United States, the mounting tensions have sparked growing international concern.
“I would say to the Iranians, do not underestimate the resolve on the US side in the situation,” British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt told reporters on Monday in Geneva.
“They don’t want a war with Iran, but if American interests are attacked they will retaliate,” he added.
Hunt said that Britain wanted “the situation to de-escalate” and urged Iran “to pull back from the destabilising activities it does throughout the region.”
– ‘Goaded’ into war –
US media reports say Trump’s hawkish national security advisor John Bolton is pushing for war with Iran, but others in the administration are resisting.
Zarif’s tweet said Trump is being “goaded by B Team,” a term he coined to refer to Bolton as well as Israel’s prime minister and the crown princes of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates who are all pushing a hard line on Tehran.
Before Trump’s Twitter threat Zarif had downplayed the prospect of a new war in the region, saying Tehran opposed it and nobody was under the “illusion” the Islamic republic could be confronted.
Iran is exercising “maximum restraint” in the face of an “unacceptable” escalation by the United States, Zarif said on Thursday.
Tehran has threatened to gradually withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal if partners still in the agreement — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia — do not help it to circumvent US sanctions.
Saudi Arabia on Saturday called for emergency regional talks to discuss the mounting Gulf tensions.
It came days after mysterious sabotage attacks on several tankers in highly sensitive Gulf waters and drone strikes on a Saudi crude pipeline by Yemen rebels who Riyadh claimed were acting on Iranian orders.
Saudi Arabia’s minister of state for foreign affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, said Sunday his country does not want to go to war with Iran but would defend itself.
Saudi Arabia “does not want a war, is not looking for it and will do everything to prevent it,” he said.
“But at the same time, if the other side chooses war, the kingdom will respond with strength and determination to defend itself and its interests.”
The Navy accidentally nominated a convicted child sex predator to be a future department head
On Tuesday, the Navy Times reported that Lt. j.g. Michael D. McNeil was nominated, along with several other junior service officers, as eligible to be a future department head by the Navy Personnel Command.
This would be somewhat surprising, given that McNeil is currently serving a 10-year sentence in federal prison in Texarkana, Texas, for soliciting sex from a 12-year-old deaf girl.
The reason why McNeil was listed as under consideration is that the Navy had not yet updated his records with the "civil action report" noting his conviction, which was handed down in March. Navy records still listed him as active duty and assigned to the guided-missile destroyer Lassen when the list was drafted.
Texas Republican denies trying to cleanse internet of references to the time she allegedly kidnapped a puppy
The legal counsel for the Bexar County Republican Party in Texas is denying attempting to force Google to hide articles from her past.
"Google has received six requests to remove links to newspaper columns about Lynette Boggs-Perez, a recently elected Judson ISD trustee whose political career in Nevada was dogged by scandal before she moved to Texas," the San Antonio Express News reported, via Reason.
Trump’s fans think he’s a macho he-man — he’s really a moral weakling who preys on women and kids
Donald Trump's fans are obsessed with the idea that their hero is the pinnacle of manliness, here to restore the supposed greatness of American masculinity after its alleged assault at the hands of feminism and "political correctness." His fans paint semi-erotic art portraying Trump as handsome and virile, either with a couple of dozen pounds shaved off his waistline or as an over-muscular he-man. They are so sure that Trump radiates a vibrant masculinity that Trump fanboy and convicted criminal Dinesh D'Souza recently posted a picture of Trump sitting next to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with the caption, "Masculinity in the twenty first century: which one is YOU?" The implicit assumption was that the orange-tinted primate, hunched over in a poorly-fitted suit was obviously more of a studly macho man than the suave young Canadian.