Trump To Iran's President Rouhani: 'NEVER, EVER THREATEN' The U.S. Again
President Trump threatened Iran in a late-night tweet on Sunday, responding angrily after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani criticized Trump and warned the American president not to "play with the lion's tail" and that "war with Iran is the mother of all wars."
Trump's tweet, posted in all-capital letters: "NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE."
He declared, "WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!"
At a gathering of Iranian diplomats in Tehran on Sunday, according to Iran's state news agency, Rouhani said, "America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars."
Iran can defend itself, Rouhani added, hinting that his country could also affect oil shipping through the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf if it were to come under attack.
As for how Trump's response has been received, Iran's state news agency said the tweet was typical of the American president's "bullying words."
NPR's Peter Kenyon reports some people have pointed out that "you can't really do all-caps in Persian, that doesn't quite translate. But no mistaking the threatening nature of the message."
Also on Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo launched a blistering attack on Iran in remarks at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.
Pompeo accused Iran of corruption and mismanagement at the highest levels and said the country had backed terrorist attacks in Europe even as it tried to reassure EU members that Iran will follow restrictions in their nuclear agreement.
In pointed remarks, Pompeo said Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, controls a hedge fund valued at $95 billion — a fund called the Setad (and on which Reuters did a special report in 2013).
"That wealth is untaxed, it is ill-gotten, and it is used as a 'slush fund' for the IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps]," Pompeo said. "The level of corruption and wealth among Iranian leaders shows that Iran is run by something that resembles the mafia more than a government."
Pompeo also tweeted a succession of messages in Farsi, trying to bring his message directly to any Iranians able to skirt their country's censors. In them, he said Iran's 40-year revolution had borne "bitter fruit."
Those accusations seem to have prompted Rouhani to counter-attack, in which he questioned whether the U.S. can embrace Iran's people while fighting its government — an idea that was put forth in Pompeo's speech.
Rouhani said, "There were no times in the past like today that we are witnessing the White House acting against the international law, Islamic World and Palestinian people."
Hours after Rouhani attacked U.S. policies, Trump's response led to questions about what sort of repercussions the American leader might be considering. Any details of that plan remain to be seen, other than the economic sanctions the U.S. is set to reimpose after leaving the Iran nuclear deal.
The timing of the heated remarks also raised the question of why Trump decided to issue his tweet late Sunday — after a week of negative attention for his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin last Monday, and the revelation that his attorney recorded him discussing hush money in 2016 that was paid to a woman who claimed she had an affair with Trump.
"Donald Trump likes to direct the media narrative, to control it," NPR's Mara Liasson says on Morning Edition. "And he's gotten us all talking about Iran this morning, instead of talking about Putin, or the investigation into Russian interference."
Mara also noted that Trump also directed violent language toward North Korea — before meeting with Kim Jong Un in Singapore.
"Sometimes he likes to create a crisis, and then become the hero of his own story and declare the crisis over," Mara says.
In the case of North Korea, she notes, the crisis was declared over despite any nuclear weapons being dismantled.
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