President Trump tweeted an explosive, all-caps threat directed at Iran's president Hassan Rouhani late Sunday:
Why it matters: Trump's decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal in May and reimpose sanctions escalated tensions between the two countries.
The backdrop: Trump's tweet, which has already drawn comparisons to his now-famous "fire and fury" threat against North Korea's Kim Jong Un, was prompted by comments made yesterday by President Rouhani.
"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...You are not in a position to incite the Iranian nation against Iran’s security and interests."— Iran's President Hassan Rouhani
The latest: Iran's state-run news agency has dismissed Trump's tweet as a "passive reaction." It claims the U.S. president was copying Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who famously warned the West to "never threaten an Iranian" during 2015 nuclear talks.
- The initial comments by Rouhani were likely brought on by a speech made Sunday by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who accused Iran’s leaders of stealing the country’s resources to spread revolution abroad and oppress Iran’s 80 million people.
What they're saying:
- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: "To the regime, prosperity, security, and freedom for the Iranian people are acceptable casualties in the march to fulfill the Revolution. The level of corruption and wealth among regime leaders shows that Iran is run by something that resembles the mafia more than a government."
- Iran foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi: "Pompeo's remarks show the U.S.' great frustration and its failure to achieve its ends after adopting the unilateral imprudent approach toward the Iran nuclear deal that has resulted in a U.S. global isolation. The hypocritical and absurd address made by the U.S. secretary of state was just a propaganda move."
- Israel's President Benjamin Netanyahu: "I would like to praise the tough stand expressed yesterday by President Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo against the aggression of the Iranian regime. Over the years, this regime has been spoiled by the major powers and it is good to see that the US is changing this unacceptable equation.”
- Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Fox & Friends: "The only person that is inciting anything is Iran." Trump is "certainly not going to tolerate" threats to the U.S., she said.