Trump warns Iran to never threaten US

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attends a meeting with Muslim leaders and scholars in Hyderabad India

Thomson Reuters

In a tweet shortly before midnight Sunday, Mr. Trump issued an all-caps warning directly to Mr. Rouhani: "NEVER EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKE OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE".

On Monday, the "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" host said it was "interesting" Trump had reacted so strongly with the above tweet after Rouhani said hostile US policies to Iran may lead to "the mother of all wars" ― which was "typical Iranian rhetoric".

Addressing a gathering of Iranian diplomats on Sunday, Rouhani said: "Mr Trump, don't play with the lion's tail, this would only lead to regret", state news agency IRNA reported.

Netanyahu lobbied hard to have the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers cancelled, and Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement in May.

Relations between the US and Iran soured this year after the USA vacated the Iran nuclear agreement, struck under the Obama administration with the intent of preventing the country from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

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There has been little tangible progress in a global push to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons program since the historic summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12.

Critics have been quick to attack Trump, with Persian-American politician Shireen Ghorbani accusing him of exacerbating tensions in the Middle East and giving "hardliners within Iran fuel for their anti-American propaganda".

Mr Pompeo said despite poor treatment by their leaders, "the proud Iranian people are not staying silent about their Government's many abuses".

Asked if Trump risked inciting a war with Iran with the tweet, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Monday morning, "if anybody is inciting anything, look no further than to Iran".

In a separate development on Sunday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Iranian regime "resembles the mafia more than a government". Sanders said Monday that Trump does use tough language and is not afraid to take "tough steps if necessary".

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Armed Forces Chief of Staff Major General Mohammad Bagheri said on Tuesday that Iran wants peace but will defend its interests in the Gulf. "I wouldn't recommend that", John Rood, undersecretary of defense for policy, told a security forum in Colorado on Friday.

"I don't think that's warranted".

USA ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley in her official visit to India last month also emphasized the need for India to cut oil imports from Iran.

"High level exchanges, including the state visit of PM to Iran in May 2016 and that of Iranian President to India in February 2018 have taken place". The U.S. president supported the protests, saying "the people of Iran are finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime".

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He said "overthrow, disintegration, boycott and weakening" were the main United States policies against Iran . Trump has made Iran a favourite target since his unexpected rapprochement with nuclear-armed North Korea.

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