President Trump ratcheted up his war of words with Iran on Thursday, saying he wouldn’t rule out U.S. military action in the Middle East nation.
Following a meeting at the White House, reporters shouted a question at Trump, asking whether such action was off the table in response to Tehran’s missile tests.
“Nothing’s off the table,” Trump responded.
The aggressive comment came just hours after the commander-in-chief took to Twitter to say Iran is “on notice” for a launch of a missile earlier this week and to criticize the nuclear deal with Tehran.
“Iran has been formally PUT ON NOTICE for firing a ballistic missile. Should have been thankful for the terrible deal the U.S. made with them,” the president tweeted.
Trump’s comments backed up national security adviser Mike Flynn’s comments Wednesday that Iran was a “destabilizing influence” in the Middle East, and that “as of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice.”
A top aide to Iran’s supreme leader blamed the “inexperienced” Trump administration for the threats and vowed his country would continue testing ballistic missiles, according to NBC.
“This is not the first time that an inexperienced person has threatened Iran,” Velayati Ali Akbar Velayati, who advises Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on foreign affairs, said before Trump’s White House comment. “Iran is the strongest power in the region and has a lot of political, economic and military power … America should be careful about making empty threats to Iran.”
He added: “Iran will continue to test its capabilities in ballistic missiles and Iran will not ask any country for permission in defending itself.”
Velayati did not identify any US official specifically.
Iran’s defense minister confirmed the missile test launch earlier this week but said it did not violate the 2015 agreement between Iran and the US. As part of the deal, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear program to get relief from sanctions.
The US also agreed to release frozen Iranian assets that were estimated to be worth as much as $150 billion.
Trump blasted that part of the deal in a Thursday tweet as well.
“Iran was on its last legs and ready to collapse until the U.S. came along and gave it a life-line in the form of the Iran Deal: $150 billion,” he wrote.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, calling Iran the “greatest sponsor of terror in the world, ” said he would support additional sanctions.
“Iran writes on their missiles in Farsi, Hebrew and English ‘Death to America,’ ‘Death to Israel’ and then tests them. So this is not a friendly country that has global peace or national security interests in mind,” the Wisconsin Republican said.
SOURCE: Mark Moore
New York Post