PHOTO: Supreme Leader’s top aide Velayati “Americans are not happy with extremism of Trump and his associates”
UPDATE 1800 GMT: The US Treasury Department has imposed sanctions on another 25 individuals and companies connected to Iran’s ballistic missile program and the Quds Forces of the Revolutionary Guards Corps.
Administration officials were careful to say that the new round of sanctions does not affect any individual or firm that had sanctions lifted as part of the nuclear agreement. The officials also said that deals such as Iran’s purchase of 80 passenger aircraft from Boeing are not likely to be affected.
The officials added that the sanctions were prepared over months, before Trump took office.
UPDATE 1330 GMT: Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has responded to the Trump Administration through Twitter:
Iran unmoved by threats as we derive security from our people. We'll never initiate war, but we can only rely on our own means of defense. pic.twitter.com/TxlSEL8rjj
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) February 3, 2017
We will never use our weapons against anyone, except in self-defense. Let us see if any of those who complain can make the same statement. pic.twitter.com/xwGquvqLvb
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) February 3, 2017
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Responding to the Trump Administration’s declaration that “Iran is on notice”, the Iranian regime has said that the US National Security Advisor is “irrational”.
The advisor, Michael Flynn, issued a statement on Wednesday criticizing Iran’s latest ballistic missile test and claiming that Tehran is behind a missile attack on a Saudi ship by Yemen’s Houthi movement. He concluded, “As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice.”
Donald Trump subsequently tweeted, referring to the July 2015 nuclear deal:
Iran has been formally PUT ON NOTICE for firing a ballistic missile.Should have been thankful for the terrible deal the U.S. made with them!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 2, 2017
A series of Iranian officials knocked back the statements on Thursday. The Supreme Leader’s top advisor, Ali Akbar Velayati, cautioned that the declarations will be “detrimental” to US interests. He then said of Flynn:
An inexperienced individual says irrational things. Iran does not pay attention… This is not the first time an inexperienced person from America has threatened Iran. Trump will understand, over time, that these empty harangues will only reduce his credibility.
The advisor, a former Foreign Advisor, asserted, “Americans themselves are not happy with the extremism upon which Mr. Trump and his associates have embarked.”
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi called Flynn’s statements “groundless, repetitive, and provocative”, while both men reiterated that Iran’s ballistic missile tests do not violate a UN Security Council resolution, passed at the time of the nuclear deal, which called on Tehran to refrain from any activity related to ballistic missiles which are nuclear-capable.
Tehran said the missiles, which travel up to 2,000 km (1,240 miles) cannot carry a nuclear warhead.
The dispute has escalated since Monday, when The New York Times published the claims of US and Israeli officials that Iran recently tested a missile, its first since July 2016. Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan finally confirmed the test on Wednesday.
Despite its stern rhetoric, the Trump Administration has not indicated that the US will withdraw from the nuclear agreement, which has been implemented since January 2016. However, White House officials said on Thursday that more Iranian individuals and companies may be added to a sanctions list targeting those connected with the ballistic missile program and with alleged Iranian support of “terrorism”.
The Administration can also tighten financial restrictions, which were maintained by Washington despite the nuclear agreement, and force the suspension of a $16.6 billion deal between Boeing and Iran for the supply of 80 passenger aircraft.
Roads and Urban Development Minister Abbas Akhoundi insisted on Thursday that the Boeing contract — or a deal for 100 Airbus aircraft, the first of which has been delivered — cannot be cancelled by Donald Trump through an executive order because they are “commercial agreements”.