Major General Qassem Soleimani has warned Trump that Iran will "destroy all that you possess" if attacked by the US.
The Major-General is a commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards. He said that Trump should address any threats against Iran to him and ridiculed the US President for using the language of “nightclubs and gambling halls”.
The threat came days after Trump fired a volley at the President of Iran on Twitter.
To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2018
“NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE” Trump wrote in a capitalised blast.
“WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!”
Hawkish US National Security Advisor John Bolton echoed Trump’s threats. “I spoke to the President over the last several days, and President Trump told me that if Iran does anything at all to the negative, they will pay a price like few countries have ever paid before,” he said in a statement.
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani declined to respond to what he called a “nonsensical comment” from Trump but Soleimani has decided to continue the ongoing war of words himself.
Soleimani to Trump: “If you begin the war, we will end the war”
“As a soldier, it is my duty to respond to your threats ” Soleimani was quoted as saying.
“We are near you, where you can’t even imagine… Come. We are ready … If you begin the war, we will end the war,” Soleimani reportedly said.
“You know that this war will destroy all that you possess.”
— Al Jazeera News (@AJENews) July 26, 2018
Iran’s Guards commanders have vowed to destroy U.S. military bases across the Middle East in the event it is attacked by the US. Iran is also at odds with Israel and does not recognise its nationhood. Iran would also target Israel, a key US ally, in any conflict.
Israel’s Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz was dismissive of Soleimani’s threats, calling them “empty talk” and saying Iran knows full well “the strength and might of the US military.”
Are the US and Iran headed for war?
In May 2018, Trump announced the US was withdrawing from the nuclear accord that it had struck with Iran during the Obama administration. US allies, including the UK, unsuccessfully tried to dissuade Trump from withdrawing from the deal.
— Ruptly (@Ruptly) July 26, 2018
In an opinion piece for CNN, Trita Parsi, President of the National American Iranian Council, said Trump’s fiery rhetoric could lead to war. Parsi writes that Iran is not analagous to North Korea, which has come to the negotiating table after tough talk from Trump.
Parsi goes on to explain that Iran, home to a complex political power structure, does not have the manoeuvrability of the one-man dictatorship of North Korea. Further, there is no friendly go-between nation similar to South Korea with an interest in brokering a deal between the US and Iran.
Australian PM Turnbull says 'no reason to believe' Trump is planning Iran strike https://t.co/lxiHReaowu
— Guardian Australia (@GuardianAus) July 26, 2018
Other commentators have said Trump’s forceful and combative approach is the only route towards the complete denuclearisation of rogue state Iran. It currently has not developed any nuclear weapons but is determined to become a nuclear power.