U.S. President Donald Trump has warned Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to “never threaten the United States,” in a Twitter comment that came shortly after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave a speech critical of Iran’s leaders.
“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. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!” Trump posted late Sunday.
He appeared to be responding to reports earlier in the day quoting Rouhani warning Trump, “don’t play with the lion’s tail, this would only lead to regret.”
“America must understand well that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace and war with Iran is the mother of all wars,” Rouhani said.
Gen. Gholam Hossein Gheibparvar, a senior officer in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, dismissed Trump’s statement as “psychological warfare” and said Trump would not take action against Iran.
Pompeo told an audience at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California that the government in Iran has become a nightmare for the Iranian people.
The top U.S. diplomat said the United Sates is not afraid to pressure the Iranian government at its highest level as he urged all U.S. allies to join in financially suppressing the government.
“This especially goes for our allies in the Middle East and Europe, people who have themselves been terrorized by the violent regime’s activity for decades,” Pompeo said.
He said the Trump administration will not stay silent against what he calls the numerous crimes and abuses of the Iranian government. This includes kleptocracy, with Pompeo saying those at the top have squandered the people’s wealth on terrorism and theft and a zeal to spread the Islamic revolution to other nations.
Pompeo said the Iranian economy is “going great,” but only for the elite, accusing the ayatollahs and senior leaders of lining their pockets to the tune of billions of dollars while a third of Iranians live in poverty.
“Judging by their vast wealth, they seem more concerned with riches than religion,” he said. “These hypocritical holy men have devised all kinds of crooked schemes to become some of the wealthiest men on Earth while their people suffer.”
While Pompeo was speaking about the lack of free speech in Iran, he was interrupted by a heckler. The secretary stood by calmly before remarking that Iranians should have the same kind of freedom of expression.
The secretary also announced that the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees the Voice of America, is taking new steps to help Iranians get around internet censorship. The BBG is also launching a new 24/7 Farsi-language channel across television, radio, digital, and social media formats.
He said the goal of the United States is to see Iranians inside their own country live the same kind of life Iranians in the United States enjoy.