Rouhani says White House is ‘mentally retarded’
Iran to further reduce commitment to nuclear deal
US President Donald Trump yesterday threatened to obliterate parts of Iran if it attacked “anything American” after Tehran said the latest US sanctions had scuttled any chance of diplomacy, calling White House actions “mentally retarded”.
Trump on Monday signed an executive order imposing sanctions against Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other senior figures, with punitive measures against Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif expected later this week.
The moves came after Iran shot down a US drone on June 20 and Trump called off a retaliatory air strike minutes before impact, saying too many people would have been killed. It would have been the first time the United States had bombed the Islamic Republic in four decades of mutual hostility.
Yesterday, however, Trump tweeted: “Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration.”
Shortly before, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said imposing “useless sanctions” on Khamenei and Zarif would mark “the permanent closure of the path of diplomacy ...”
In a televised address yesterday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani slammed “mentally retarded” White House actions.
“Tehran’s strategic patience does not mean we have fear,” said Rouhani.
The United States has imposed crippling financial sanctions against Iran since last year when Trump withdrew from a 2015 deal between Tehran and world powers under which it curbed its nuclear programme and won a removal of sanctions in return.
The crisis has escalated sharply since last month when the Trump administration tightened its sanctions noose, ordering all countries to halt purchases of Iranian oil.
Tehran has given European signatories until July 8 to find a way to shield its economy from US sanctions, or else it will enrich uranium to higher levels banned under the deal to help ensure no development of a nuclear weapon results.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian yesterday warned Iran that violating the accord would be a serious mistake and that France, Britain and Germany were making it clear to Tehran that it was not in its interest to do so.