President Donald Trump is continuing his campaign of aggression towards Iran, announcing new sanctions this past Monday targeting the upper rungs of the country’s leadership. When announcing those sanctions, he named the wrong supreme leader of the country, referring to “Ayatollah Khomeini” despite that leader having died decades ago. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani responded to that overall situation in remarks recently televised inside Iran, blasting the Trump White House as engaging in bluntly “outrageous” behavior and “afflicted by mental retardation.”
He railed, directing his ire at the U.S.:
‘You sanction the foreign minister simultaneously with a request for talks… The White House is afflicted by mental retardation and does not know what to do.’
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi was perhaps even more unsettlingly blunt, sharing the assessment:
‘The fruitless sanctions on Iran’s leadership and the chief of Iranian diplomacy mean the permanent closure of the road of diplomacy with the frustrated U.S. administration.’
The sanctions are meant as retaliation for Iran shooting down a U.S. drone that it claims violated its airspace, which the Trump team of course vehemently denies happened. The U.S. had prepared a retaliatory airstrike but Trump claims he stopped those plans with little time to spare when learning up to 150 people could die, although some have contested his course of events.
The situation mirrors the U.S./North Korea relationship’s status for the first bit of Trump’s time in office. As Trump raged about potentially wiping the country off the face of the earth in response to the continued development of their nuclear program, their dictator Kim Jong Un decried him as a “frightened dog” and a “dotard,” the latter term being used to refer to weak or otherwise incapacitated elderly people.
In the time since that interaction, Trump has touted his supposedly great relationship with Kim to the point of saying they exchanged “beautiful letters” and “fell in love,” so at least according to precedent all hope is not lost for the U.S./Iran relationship under Trump. The letters and plans for summits should be coming soon if we’re following the North Korea pattern farther — which just to be clear, is a completely unsettling, outlandish outline for global relations. Trump dragged the world to the brink of nuclear war with his antagonizing threats towards North Korea (and now Iran) — and North Korea still has their weapons!
Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton and currently serving United Nations rep Jonathan Cohen have both said the Trump administration wants to have negotiations with Iran, but there’s no indication beyond that lip service that anything along those lines will be getting underway anytime soon.
These developments are unfolding about a year after Trump withdrew the United States from the already long in negotiation nuclear deal Iran signed with the U.S. and other countries in 2015. In the face of the U.S. reimposing sanctions in the absence of that deal, Iran has said they’ll be abandoning it too and passing a limit it set on enriched uranium just this week, besides potentially developing it almost to the point of weapons-grade.
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