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Iran’s Rohani says no need to respond to ’empty threats’ from US

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, at the United Nations on Sept. 18, 2017. (Michael Brochstein/Sipa USA/TNS)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Iranian President Hassan Rohani has said he feels no need to respond to what hecalled “empty threats” from U.S. President Donald Trump.

Iran’s IRNA news agency reported on July 25 that, after Rohani mentioned “baseless comments” by “some U.S. leaders,” he told a cabinet meeting “there is no need for us to respond to any nonsensical comment and answer back to them.”

“We should respond with action,” Rohani said.

Rohani’s remarks came in response to a July 22 all-capital-letters post on Twitter by Trump in which Trump warned Iran not to “threaten the United States again or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before.”

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi, responding to Trump’s post on July 24, said there would be “a reaction and equal countermeasures from Iran” if the United States attempted to block Tehran from exporting oil.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded to Trump with a Twitter post of his own, saying: “We’ve been around for millennia & seen fall of empires, incl our own, which lasted more than the life of some countries.”

On July 24, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis voiced concerns about Iran’s actions in the Middle East, including Tehran’s support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and for Huthi rebels fighting the government in Yemen.

“I think the president was making very clear that they’re on the wrong track,” Matthis said. “It is time for Iran to shape up and show responsibility as a responsible nation.”

During a speech two days after his Twitter post, however, Trump said the United States “was ready to make a real deal” on constraining Iran’s nuclear program.

In May, Trump decided to withdraw from a landmark 2015 agreement between Tehran and global powers that restricted Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

Trump has called that agreement a “disaster.”

With reporting by IRNA, Reuters, and AP