Iran’s foreign minister has goaded Donald Trump on Twitter, after the US president threatened the “official end” of the country.
In a tweet, Mohammad Javad Zarif said: “Goaded by #B_Team, @realdonaldTrump hopes to achieve what Alexander, Genghis & other aggressors failed to do. Iranians have stood tall for millennia while aggressors all gone. #EconomicTerrorism & genocidal taunts won’t “end Iran”. #NeverThreatenAnIranian. Try respect-it works!”
Trump’s warning comes at a time of heightened tensions between the US and Iran, following the president’s decision to pull the US out of Tehran’s nuclear deal with other world powers.
Mr Trump tweeted: “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!”
If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 19, 2019
The message came shortly after a rocket landed close to the huge US embassy in Baghdad in the Iraqi capital’s Green Zone on Sunday night.
No group has yet come forward and admitted they carried out the attack.
Mr Trump’s tweet came after he tried to soften his tone on Iran after days of tension triggered by a sudden deployment of bombers and an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf over still-unspecified threats.
Since then, United Arab Emirates officials claim four of their oil tankers have been sabotaged.
Rebels from Yemen allied with Iran, launched a drone attack on an oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia.
Diplomats from the US have also given warnings that commercial airlines could be misidentified by Iran and attacked – something which has been dismissed by Tehran.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said the Iranians need to think carefully about US retaliation, should they attack their interests and warned them not to underestimate the US.
He told reporters in Geneva, “I would say to the Iranians: Do not underestimate the resolve on the U.S. side.
“They don’t want a war with Iran. But if American interests are attacked, they will retaliate. And that is something that the Iranians needs to think about very, very carefully.”
Both Washington and Tehran have expressed they do not seek war, but many worry that miscalculation could spiral out of control.
Mr Trump campaigned on pulling the US from the 2015 nuclear deal, which meant the Iran had to agree to limit its enrichment of uranium, in return for the lifting of economic sanctions.
After the withdrawal last year, the US has re-imposed the previous sanctions, and used new ones, as well as warning other countries they would also be subject to sanctions if they import Iranian oil.
Iran has announced it will now back away from the terms of the deal, and has set a 60-day deadline for Europe to come up with new terms, before it begins enriching uranium closed to weapons-grade levels.
Tehran has long said they do not seek nuclear weapons, however the west fears its programme could allow it to build atomic bombs.
The US president had previously called the nuclear deal a “horror show”, despite the UN repeatedly confirming the Iran was compliant with the accord.