The commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard sent a stern warning America’s way, telling the Donald Trump White House it won’t be long before Tehran gives a “strong slap in the face” to the United States.
The threat came after President Trump vowed a get-tough crackdown on Iran and issued a strong condemnation of the Islamic Republic’s ballistic missile test on Jan. 29.
Apparently, Iran didn’t appreciate Trump’s warning that Iran was playing with fire and responded with a try at intimidation.
“The enemy,” said Gen. Mohammad Pakpour, the head of the ground forces, speaking of America, Reuters reported, “should not be mistaken in its assessments and it will receive a strong slap in the face if it does make such a mistake.”
The remarks came as Iran’s Guard members kicked off three days of rocket-tied military operations.
“The message of these exercises … for world arrogance is not to do anything stupid,” Pakpour said, as quoted in the government-run Tasnim news agency. “Everyone could see today what power we have on the ground.”
The saber-rattling on the part of Iran against America is not new. But unlike Barack Obama, Trump has come out strong against the regime, criticizing the nuclear deal forged by the previous administration as “disastrous” and underscoring America’s allied relations with Israel – another sore spot for Tehran.
The fate of the nuclear pact with Iran has been widely discussed, with some experts predicting the Trump administration would completely opt out and dismantle the deal, but others suggesting a subtler move is in play.
Because other countries are affected.
As Nader Hashemi of the Centre for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver said, Trump could alienate the entire European Union and United Kingdom by simply walking away from the deal. And doing that would make it harder for America to slap Iran with additional sanctions.
“I suspect Trump will try to strictly enforce the nuclear deal,” Hashemi said, BBC reported, “hoping that Iran will break the agreement and thus be blamed intentionally for it.”
Meanwhile, other foreign affairs voices have taken pen to paper to plead with Trump to stand firm on the nuclear deal, at least for the time being.
Yoel Guzansky, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, and Oded Eran, a senior researcher at Tel Aviv Institute for National Security Studies, wrote in a joint piece for Forbes that “dismantling the deal might not just bring further instability to the Middle East, but also might further complicate U.S. relations with its European partners as well with China and Russia.”
Guzansky and Eran agreed the dismantling of the deal would make it harder to form partnerships with other pact partners, to get them on board for sanctions against Iran.
“More important,” they wrote, “walking away from the deal might also drive Iran to go back to the nuclear path, starting again – this time faster – enriching uranium for military purposes. … It might also drive Israel again to consider attacking Iran’s nuclear installations for no better option.”
The pair suggested Trump’s better move would be to “police the deal” to ensure Iran’s compliance.