A senior Iranian military commander said Tuesday that Iran would punch U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the mouth after Pompeo announced the U.S. would issue what will be the strongest sanctions in history against Iran, following the U.S. withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal.
“The people of Iran should stand united in the face of this and they will deliver a strong punch to the mouth of the American Secretary of State and anyone who backs them,” said Ismail Kowsari, deputy commander of the Sarollah Revolutionary Guards base in Tehran, Reuters reported, citing the Iranian Labour News Agency.
Iran threatens ‘strong punch to the mouth’ for Mike Pompeo https://t.co/h7wxXrJsOG
— Irish Times World (@IrishTimesWorld) May 22, 2018
“Who are you and America to tell us to limit the range of ballistic missiles? History has shown that with the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, America is the top criminal with regard to missiles,” Kowsari added, ILNA reported.
And, the Iranian government spoke out against Pompeo this week.
“Do the Americans think that the silk glove that they’ve taken out and the iron hand that they’ve extended to the people, a hand that’s backed by Israel and the [Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization, or MKO], will make Iranian people think that America wants democracy,” asked Mohammad Baqer Nobakht, Reuters reported, citing state media.
The Iranian government views the MKO as a terrorist group. It is an exiled armed opposition group that has called for the overthrow of the current Iranian government.
On Monday, Pompeo announced the United States’ plan for moving forward with Iran, this after President Donald Trump announced earlier this month that the U.S. would withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.
Tehran must make major changes in order for the U.S. not to impose the historic penalties; changes include dropping its nuclear program and pulling out of the Syrian civil war, Pompeo said.
“The sanctions are back in full effect, and new ones are coming,” Pompeo said at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. “This is just the beginning. The string of the sanctions will be painful if the Iranian regime doesn’t change its course.”
“These will indeed end up being the strongest sanctions in history when we are complete,” Pompeo stressed.
Trump announced the U.S. is withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal and imposing the “highest level” economic sanctions against Iran on May 8.
Last week, the U.S. designated the head of Iran’s central bank a “specially designated global terrorist” and accused Iran central bank governor Valiollah Seif of giving millions of dollars to Hezbollah, a terrorist group based in Lebanon. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Seif “covertly funneled” money from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) through Iraq’s al-Bilad Islamic Bank in order to aid Hezbollah.
“The United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal,” Trump said when he announced the withdrawal, calling the deal “defective at its core” and a “disastrous deal” that gave the Iranian “regime of great terror” billions of dollars.
“[…] America will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail [and we] won’t allow American cities to be threatened with destruction,” Trump had said, later saying that the withdrawal will help keep Americans safe.
Pompeo echoed the President’s statements, and said Monday the Iran nuclear deal has not made America more safe.
“Iran continues to be, during the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action], the world’s largest sponsor of terror,” the Secretary of State said, adding that the current JCPOA would very likely allow Iran to build nuclear bombs when the sanctions are lifted in 10 years.
“America’s commitment to Iran’s strategy remains. It will now be executed outside the JCPOA,” Pompeo said, pointing out that the U.S. will work with allies to counter Iran’s regime, which threatens peace and stability.
“We’ll ensure Iran has no path to a nuclear weapon,” he said.
“We will apply unprecedented financial pressure on the Iranian regime,” Pomepo said, and the regime will have “no doubt” about the United States’ seriousness.
The U.S. faced a May 12 deadline to decide whether or not to remain in the Iran nuclear deal.
“The Iranian regime is the leading state sponsor of terror. No action taken by the regime has been more dangerous than its pursuit of nuclear weapons and the means of delivering them,” the President said when he announced the U.S. withdrawal from the deal.
Trump said the United States will now work with its allies “to find a real, comprehensive, lasting solution to the Iranian nuclear threat.”
President Trump has long been critical of the Obama-era agreement that was penned in 2015, calling it an “embarrassment” and “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into.”
Iran’s foreign minister has said that the nation will not renegotiate the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. European nations that are still involved in the JCPOA are working with Iran to ensure that the deal will continue to move forward.
Earlier this month, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a live broadcast that if President Trump follows through with his promise to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, the United States “will surely regret it.”
“Iran will not violate the nuclear deal, but if the United States withdraws from the deal, they will surely regret it. Our response will be stronger than what they imagine and they would see that within a week,” he had said.
Iran has promised to ramp up its nuclear program if the deal collapses, though many feel as though the deal has done little to diminish Iran’s nuclear efforts anyway. Iran insists its efforts have been for research and technology, and that its missiles are purely defensive.
“We will produce any weapons necessary to defend our country in such a volatile region. But we will not use our weapons against our neighbors,” Rouhani has said.