May 20, 2019 - 17:37 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The Iranian foreign minister, Javad Zarif, has hit back at Donald Trump for his “genocidal taunts”, following a strongly worded warning from the US president that Tehran should not think of attacking the US, The Guardian reports.
“Goaded by #B_Team,” Zarif wrote on Twitter, in an apparent reference to Trump advisers such as John Bolton, “@realdonaldTrump hopes to achieve what Alexander, Genghis & other aggressors failed to do. Iranians have stood tall for millennia while aggressors all gone. #EconomicTerrorism & genocidal taunts won’t ‘end Iran’.”
He added: “#NeverThreatenAnIranian. Try respect — it works!”
On Sunday, May 19 Trump warned Iran not to threaten the United States or it would face its “official end”, shortly after a rocket landed near the US Embassy in Baghdad overnight.
Trump’s tweet came after he seemingly sought to soften his tone on Iran following days of heightened tension sparked by his administration’s sudden deployment of bombers and an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf over still unspecified threats.
In the time since, officials in the United Arab Emirates allege four oil tankers sustained damage in a sabotage attack. Yemeni rebels allied with Iran launched a drone attack on an oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia. US diplomats relayed a warning that commercial airlines could be misidentified by Iran and attacked, something dismissed by Tehran.
All these tensions are the culmination of Trump’s decision a year ago to pull the US out of Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers. And while both Washington and Tehran say they do not seek war, many worry any miscalculation at this fraught moment could spiral out of control.
The tweet from Trump came just hours after a Katyusha rocket fell in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone near the statue of the Unknown Soldier, less than a mile from the US Embassy, causing no injuries. Iraqi military spokesman Brig Gen Yahya Rasoul told the Associated Press that the rocket was believed to have been fired from east Baghdad. The area is home to Iran-backed Shia militias.
“If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran,” Trump tweeted. “Never threaten the United States again!”
Jeremy Hunt, the UK foreign secretary, urged Tehran to take Trump’s seriously.
Speaking in Geneva, Hunt said: “I would say to the Iranians: do not underestimate the resolve on the US side.
“They don’t want a war with Iran. But if American interests are attacked, they will retaliate. And that is something that the Iranians needs to think about very, very carefully.”
Trump campaigned on pulling the US from the 2015 nuclear accord, which saw Iran agree to limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. Since the withdrawal, the US has re-imposed previous sanctions and come up with new ones, as well as warned nations around the world they would be subject to sanctions as well if they import Iranian oil.
Iran just announced it would begin backing away from terms of the deal, setting a 60-day deadline for Europe to come up with new terms or it would begin enriching uranium closer to weapons-grade levels. Tehran long has insisted it does not seek nuclear weapons, though the west fears its program could allow it to build atomic bombs.