The latest U.S. sanctions on Iran drew a sharp rebuke from the Islamic Republic on Tuesday, with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani calling the economic crackdown “outrageous and idiotic” and describing President Trump as “afflicted by mental retardation.”
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A spokesperson for the Iranian Foreign Ministry also criticized Trump’s sanctions, which he first announced on Saturday, saying it means “closing [the] channel of diplomacy forever,” according to Reuters.
“Trump’s desperate administration is destroying the established international mechanisms for maintaining world peace and security,” the tweet said.
Trump seemingly responded to the comments mid-morning on Tuesday, calling the statements "very ignorant and insulting" and said it only goes to show "they do not understand reality."
"Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force," Trump wrote. "In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration. No more John Kerry & Obama!"
Tensions between Tehran and Washington heightened last week after an Iranian missile shot down an unmanned U.S. spy drone over the Strait of Hormuz (U.S. and Iranian officials have disputed whether the drone was in Iranian airspace or not). In response, the U.S. prepared a military strike against Iran, but at the last minute, called it off.
On Monday, Trump signed an executive order to impose “hard-hitting” sanctions against Iran, targeting the finances of the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and other senior officials.
“We will continue to increase pressure on Tehran,” Trump said during remarks inside the Oval Office. “Never can Iran have a nuclear weapon.”
The tensions are a direct result from Trump’s decision to unilaterally withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal – arguably the biggest foreign policy achievement of the Obama administration – more than one year ago, bucking U.S. allies while imposing a punishing round of economic sanctions on Tehran. The other signatories to the deal, including China, Russia, France, the UK, Germany and Iran, said they would continue to honor the agreement, despite the U.S’s withdrawal.