The statements from Trump appear to contradict other US officials, who say the US wants to negotiate with Iran rather than escalate the dispute.
Rabat – Trump has responded to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s comments suggesting that the White House is “mentally disabled,” and Trump is “afflicted by a mental disorder.”
Rouhani questioned Trump’s mental faculties in response to new sanctions imposed on Iranian officials by Trump. “The White House actions show it is mentally retarded,” said Rouhani, calling them “outrageous and idiotic.”
He also accused the US of lying about wanting to resume talks between the two countries. “You say you really want to hold talks with us, but at the same time you’re saying that you want to boycott and sanction our foreign minister, so you’re lying,” he said.
The comments seemed to hit home, triggering an emotional response from Trump on Twitter.
“Iran leadership doesn’t understand the words ‘nice’ or ‘compassion,’ they never have. Sadly, the thing they do understand is Strength and Power, and the USA is by far the most powerful Military Force in the world, with 1.5 Trillion Dollars invested over the last two years alone,” he tweeted.
“The U.S. has not forgotten Iran’s use of IED’s & EFP’s (bombs), which killed 2000 Americans, and wounded many more … Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration.”
The statements from Trump seem to contradict other US officials, who say the US wants to negotiate with Iran rather than escalate the dispute.
“The United States is not looking to go to war with Iran,” said Mark T. Esper, the acting defense secretary. “Rather, we want to get to a diplomatic path.”
Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, also insisted the president remained open to real negotiations and “all that Iran needs to do is walk through that open door.”
Reminiscent of Trump’s threats to “destroy North Korea”
Trump’s insult match with Rouhani bares a striking similarity to his dispute with North Korea in late 2017. The war of words came to a head at the 2017 United Nations general assembly, where he threatened to “totally destroy North Korea” with “fire and fury.”
“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” he said. He also referred to North Korea’s leader Kim Jung-un as a “Rocket Man” on “a suicide mission.”
In response, Jung-un released a statement calling Trump a “mentally deranged and vowed “highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history.”
“A frightened dog barks louder,” he added. “He is surely a rogue and a gangster fond of playing with fire, rather than a politician,” Jung-un said.
Even though Trump only doubled down on his statements in response, calling Jung-un “obviously a madman” on Twitter, when they met for face to face talks, the two ended up expressing mutual affection for each other with Trump going as far as saying they “fell in love.”
The current dispute with Iran and the road to diplomacy may not be as simple, and complex nuclear deals are at stake. Iran has been adamant it will not be pressured into concessions and will not negotiate with the US under the current oil, banking and trade sanctions.
Tensions between Iran and the US higher than ever before
The insult match was triggered by Donald Trump placing sanctions on Iranian officials. Trump explained that the sanctions placed on Iranian officials as a response to “aggressive behavior from Iran.”
Just last week, Iran shot down a US surveillance drone, claiming that it had violated Iranian airspace over the Strait of Hormuz. However, the US insisted the drone was flying over international waters.
In response to the drone being shot down, Trump approved air strikes on Iran but called them off just minutes before the military action was meant to take place, on the morning of Friday, June 21.
US planes and ships were already in position when Trump called off the attack, according to the White House. Trump’s motivation behind calling off the attack, or whether it will be carried out at a later date, remains unknown.
Iran shooting down the drone and Trump’s planned military action was just the most recent events in tensions that have been escalating for months. In May, things escalated further when Washington ordered all countries halt imports of Iranian oil.
In response the US’ call for a boycott, Iran pulled out its international nuclear agreements on May 8, as well as giving Europe, China and Russia a two-month ultimatum to help Iran circumvent US sanctions and sell its oil or it would abandon two more commitments.
Trump also accused Iran of being behind two sets of explosions that damaged six oil tankers in the Gulf region. Iran has denied the allegations. The US, in turn, announced that it is building a coalition with unnamed allies to protect Gulf shipping lanes.