By CCN: As military tensions escalate between the US and Iran, a senior Iranian official has lashed out at President Trump. Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, director of foreign affairs, called Trump a “crazy president,” who is “unbalanced,” and “unstable.”
Iran also confirmed it has ramped up its uranium enrichment program by a factor of four, effectively ripping up the terms of its nuclear deal. Tensions are now at boiling point after Trump threatened to “end” Iran over the weekend:
“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
“This is a crazy president!”
Speaking in an interview with CNN, Iranian official Amir-Abdollahian said Trump is deluded if he thinks Iran will bow to his wishes.
“In his mind, Trump thinks he has a gun to Iran’s head with sanctions and he is trying to shut down our economy. This is all in his imagination. Now he wants us to call him? This is a crazy president!”
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!
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) May 20, 2019
He went on to slam Trump as an ineffective leader, calling his decision-making abilities “unbalanced” and White House communication “confused.”
“Also, Trump is not quite balanced and stable in his decision making, so we are dealing with a confused White House. Iran receives various signals which show that no one knows who owns the White House.”
Iran quadruples nuclear production
On Monday, local Iranian news outlets reported that Iran has quadrupled uranium stockpiles. The enrichment program remains below weapons-grade production, but it’s a worrying sign nonetheless.
If Iran’s nuclear production continues at this rate, the country will violate its international nuclear deal. One that Trump pulled out of last year.
It’s a show of force aimed at the US and other international allies.
“It is aimed at showing the international community, the US in particular, that Iran is not in a position of weakness.” – Ali Fathollah-Nejad, Brookings Institute in Doha.
US – Iran tensions escalate
The White House received a report recently hinting at Iran’s plans to attack US citizens in the Middle East. Although it’s unclear whether the planned military action was aggressive or defensive in nature, it put tensions on a knife-edge.
Trump has since deployed fighter jets and an aircraft carrier to the Gulf region in a display of military power. The US President doubled down on the threat on Sunday with his “end Iran” tweet.
The United States will continue its maximum pressure on the Iranian regime until its leaders decide to change their destructive behavior, respect the rights of the Iranian people, and return to the negotiating table.
— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) May 9, 2019
Reports suggest that National Security Adviser John Bolton is firmly advocating for war in the Gulf. However, Trump himself and Iranian officials have downplayed the threat. Iran Major-General Hossein Salami said:
“Iran is not looking for any type of war, but it is fully prepared to defend itself.”
Similarly, Trump said:
“I don’t want to fight. But you do have situations like Iran, you can’t let them have nuclear weapons, you just can’t let that happen.”
Stock market jitters
As CCN reported, Trump’s aggressive rhetoric towards Iran had an unintended effect on US stocks. Yesterday afternoon the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 101.05 points as traders digested Trump’s military threats.
In the latest exchange, Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told the US President to try a different approach:
“Never threaten an Iranian. Try respect – it works!”