Iran Flag

Iran will resist U.S. President Donald Trump’s “psychological warfare”, a senior commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards was quoted as saying on Monday.

“We will never abandon our revolutionary beliefs … we will resist pressure from enemies… America wants nothing less than (to) destroy Iran … (but) Trump cannot do a damn thing against Iran,” Iranian Students News Agency ISNA reported Gholamhossein Gheybparvar as saying.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that Trump’s hostile policies toward Tehran could lead to “the mother of all wars”, according to a report by state new agency IRNA.

Trump reacted in a late Sunday night Twitter message written in capitals, telling Rouhani to “never, ever threaten the U.S. again” or face the consequences.

U.S. officials familiar with the matter told Reuters that an ongoing communications offensive by the Trump administration was meant to work in conjunction with a sanctions push to foment unrest and help pressure Iran to end its nuclear programme and its support of militant groups.

READ ALSO  Coronavirus: Xi offers condolences to Italy, Iran, South Korea

The escalation in rhetoric came as the Trump administration has launched an offensive of speeches and online communications meant to foment unrest and help pressure Iran to end its nuclear programme and its support of militant groups, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

Iran has faced increased U.S. pressure and looming sanctions following Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from a 2015 international deal over Iran’s nuclear program.

Tehran has said its nuclear work is just for electricity generation and other peaceful projects.

Also in a speech late on Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denounced Iran’s leaders as a “mafia” and promised unspecified backing for Iranians unhappy with their government.

READ ALSO  Trudeau also blames Trump for the downed Ukrainian plane

Addressing a gathering of Iranian diplomats earlier on Sunday, Rouhani said: “Mr Trump, don’t play with the lion’s tail, this would only lead to regret,” according to a report by the state new agency IRNA.

“America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars,” Rouhani said, leaving open the possibility of peace between the two countries, at odds since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Rouhani also scoffed at Trump’s threat to halt Iranian oil exports and said Iran has a dominant position in the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping waterway.

READ ALSO  Trump under pressure to de-escalate tensions with Iran ahead of press conference

Rouhani’s apparent threat earlier this month to disrupt oil shipments from neighboring countries came in reaction to efforts by Washington to force all countries to stop buying Iranian oil.

Washington initially planned to shut Iran out of global oil markets completely after Trump abandoned the deal that limited Iran’s nuclear ambitions, demanding all other countries stop buying Iranian crude by November.