WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump threatened on Tuesday to respond with “great and overwhelming force” to any attacks by Iran on US targets.
“Iran’s very ignorant and insulting statement, put out today, only shows that they do not understand reality. Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration. No more John Kerry & Obama!” Trump said in a Twitter post.
The US leader said in a series of tweets that the “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.”
Trump said that “the wonderful Iranian people are suffering, and for no reason at all. Their leadership spends all of its money on Terror, and little on anything else.”
The president said “the U.S. has not forgotten Iran’s use of IED’s & EFP’s (bombs), which killed 2000 Americans, and wounded many more.”
Trump tweeted hours after his national security adviser, John Bolton, said during a visit to Jerusalem that the president “has held the door open for real negotiations, to completely and verifiably eliminate Iran’s nuclear weapons program.”
Tensions with Iran have been rising since the United States pulled out of the nuclear deal with Tehran last year and escalated after Trump ended sanctions exemptions for purchases of Iranian oil in April.
The 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) limited Iranian nuclear activity in exchange for relief from sanctions.
Trump withdrew the US from the JCPOA in 2018 and Iran’s supreme leader has said he was not interested in negotiations until and unless Washington returns to the 2015 pact and ends sanctions that are harming the Iranian economy.
Iran and the rest of the signatories – Russia, China, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the European Union – officially remain committed to the JCPOA.
The US military presence in the Middle East and attacks on four oil tankers have ratcheted up tensions further.
Last Thursday, Iran shot down a US Navy drone, claiming the aircraft violated its airspace.
The Pentagon, for its part, said the drone was over international waters when it was downed.
On Monday, Iran’s permanent representative at the United Nations, Majid Takht-Ravanchi, said his government would not have a dialogue with Washington while being threatened.
On Monday, Trump signed an executive order imposing financial sanctions on Iran’s supreme leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in the wake of the Iranian downing of the US Navy drone.
“The supreme leader of Iran is one who ultimately is responsible of the hostile conduct of the regime. He’s respected within his country. His office oversees the regime’s most brutal instruments, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,” the president said of Khamanei.
Until now, US sanctions against Iran had targeted broad economic sectors and government entities, such as the Revolutionary Guard, as opposed to specific individuals.