President Donald Trump has threatened Iran with “obliteration” if it strikes “anything American” after Tehran dismissed new US sanctions as “useless”.
In what’s becoming a war of words, Iran responded to the fresh sanctions by calling the White House ‘mentally retarded’.
“Any attack by Iran … will be met with great and overwhelming force,” Trump tweeted. “In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration.”
But the US President has left the door opens for talks.
“Their country is not doing well economically at all. That could be changed very quickly, very easily,” Trump said. “But they have to get rid of the hostility from the leadership. The leadership – I hope they stay, I hope they do a great job – but they should talk to us peaceably.”
On Monday, Trump signed an executive order ordering additional sanctions against Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Foreign minister Javad Zarif, and eight Revolutionary Guard commanders.
Tensions started on both sides after an attack earlier this month on two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, which US officials blame on Iran — which denies involvement. Words then escalated between the two countries after Tehran shot down a US drone last week, saying it was in its air space, but Washington alleges it was flying over international waters.
In a televised address on Tuesday, Iran’s President, Hassan Rouhani, said the White House’s actions were “mentally retarded” and said the sanctions against Khamenei would not have much of an impact as he has no assets abroad.