U.S. President Donald Trump says Iran risks serious consequences if it makes more threats against the United States.
Trump’s words were written in large letters as part of a Twitter message. It appeared on Twitter Sunday night.
It came hours after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told the American leader that hostile policies toward his country could lead to “the mother of all wars.”
While tensions between the countries have increased, both sides have reasons to want to avoid starting a conflict that could easily intensify.
Trump’s comments followed a series of speeches and communications meant to incite unrest in Iran. U.S. officials say the Trump administration wants to pressure Iran to end its nuclear program and its support of militant groups.
Iran has faced increased U.S. pressure and possible sanctions since May. That is when Trump announced his decision to withdraw the United States from a 2015 international agreement over Iran’s nuclear program.
In his message directed at Rouhani, Trump wrote: “Never, ever threaten the United States again or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before. We are no longer a country that will stand for your demented words of violence & death.”
Earlier on Sunday, Rouhani had told Iranian diplomats: “Mr. Trump, don’t play with the lion’s tail, this would only lead to regret.”
“America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars,” Rouhani said. The Iranian state news agency IRNA reported his comments.
Rouhani left open the possibility of peace between the countries. But Iran’s most powerful leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said on Saturday that negotiations with the United States would be a “mistake.”
Rouhani also made fun of Trump’s threat to stop Iranian oil exports. He said Iran has a leading position in the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, a major waterway for oil shipping.
A commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards reacted to Trump’s threats by saying his country would continue to resist its enemies. Iran’s Students news Agency ISNA reported his comments.
War of Words
Trump’s warning to Iran came hours after a speech by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Speaking in California, Pompeo described Iran’s religious leadership as a “mafia.” He also promised support for Iranians unhappy with their government.
Pompeo said that the government has become a nightmare for the Iranian people. He urged all U.S. allies to join in financially suppressing the government.
Iran reacted to Pompeo’s speech as interference in its affairs, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.
An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said, "Such policies will unite Iranians who will overcome plots against their country.”
There is little interest among United States lawmakers for a conflict with Iran. U.S. officials note the difficulty the military faced in Iraq after its invasion in 2003. They also are concerned about the effect on the world economy of higher oil prices.
Many Iranians are worried that the war of words might lead to a conflict. But observers in Tehran told the Reuters news agency that the U.S. administration would not bring the country into another quagmire in the Middle East.
I’m Ashley Thompson.
Warren Strobel and Parisa Hafezi reported this story for the Reuters news agency. Susan Shand adapted their story for VOA Learning English. The editor was George Grow.
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Words in This Story
consequence–n.something that happens as a result of an action or set of conditions
escalate – v.to become worse
sanctions – n.an action to force a country to obey international laws by limiting or stopping trade with that country
demented – adj. not able to think clearly or to understand what is real and what is not real
quagmire – n.a situation that is full of problems
currency– n.the money used by a particular county
lion– n.a large cat
tail – n.the rear end of an animal
mafia– n.a secret criminal group
nightmare – n.a frightening dream