JEDDAH: US President Donald Trump threatened on Tuesday to obliterate parts of Iran if it attacked “anything American” as Tehran and Washington traded insults.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said new US sanctions against Ayatalloh Ali Khamenei were pointless because Iran’s supreme leader had no assets abroad, and described the White House’s actions as “mentally retarded.”
Iran also pledged to further increase its enrichment of uranium, in breach of the 2015 deal to curb its nuclear program. “As of July 7, Iran will forcefully take the second step of reducing its commitments” to the deal, said Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian 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.
Trump said the US was still open to negotiations but would retaliate if Iran resorted to violence. “Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration,” he said.
US National Security Adviser, John Bolton, visiting Israel, said the offer of talks remained on the table provided Iran was willing to go beyond the terms of the 2015 deal.
“The president has held the door open to real negotiations to completely and verifiably eliminate Iran’s nuclear weapons program, its pursuit of ballistic missile delivery systems, its support for international terrorism and other malign behavior worldwide,” Bolton said.
“All Iran needs to do is to walk through that open door. They’ll either get the point or ... we will simply enhance the maximum pressure campaign further.”