American President Donald Trump threatened on Tuesday to obliterate parts of Iran if it attacked “anything American.”
His comment came after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani condemned the latest American sanctions on Iran. Rouhani also described the Trump administration as “mentally retarded.”
The sanctions followed Iran’s downing last week of an unpiloted U.S. spy drone flying above the Strait of Hormuz.
Rouhani’s comments were similar to comments made about Trump by North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un. Kim called Trump “the mentally deranged U.S. dotard,” in 2017, before their two governments began negotiations.
Trump has also called for talks with Iran. However, the country has rejected this idea so far. Rouhani said Tuesday that Trump was lying about wanting talks with Iran. And an Iranian foreign ministry spokesman wrote that the new sanctions meant “closing the doors of diplomacy.”
Trump ordered the sanctions against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other top Iranian officials on Monday.
Rouhani called the move “idiotic” and said the White House was “afflicted by mental retardation and does not know what to do.”
In a series of Twitter messages Tuesday, Trump called Rouhani’s statement “very ignorant and insulting.”
Tensions have risen between the two countries since last year, when Trump withdrew the U.S. from a nuclear deal with Iran and several world powers. Trump also re-ordered economic sanctions on Iran.
Last month, the United States ordered all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil. Earlier this month, Trump blamed Iran for mine attacks on two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. Iran has denied the accusation.
Tensions rose further last Thursday, when Iran shot down the American drone. Iran said the drone had flown into its airspace. The United States says its drone was flying in international airspace.
U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said Tuesday that Iran could walk through an “open door” to talks with America. But he also warned that “all options remain on the table” if Iran violates terms of the 2015 nuclear deal.
Iran recently sharply increased its production of low-enriched uranium and could violate the agreement by Thursday of this week. It has also threatened to raise enrichment closer to weapons-grade levels by July 7 if European countries still part of the agreement do not offer a new deal.
I'm Caty Weaver.
Ashley Thompson adapted this story based on reports by Reuters, the Associated Press and VOA News. Caty Weaver was the editor.
Words in This Story
obliterate - v. to destroy (something) completely so that nothing is left
sanctions - n. action that is taken or an order that is given to force a country to obey international laws by limiting or stopping trade with that country, by not allowing economic aid for that country, etc. — usually plural
drone - n. a type of small aircraft that flies without a pilot
mentally retarded - adj. slow or limited in mental development
deranged - adj. unable to think or act in a normal or logical way especially because of severe mental illness : crazy or insane
dotard - n. an old person, especially one who has become physically or mentally weak
idiotic - adj. very stupid or foolish
afflict - v. (often + with) to cause pain or suffering to (someone or something)