In an all-caps tweet, Donald Trump has threatened war with Iran.

The immediate cause for Trump’s Twitter threat was statements by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the Supreme Leader, declaring that Iran will hinder the oil exports of other countries if Tehran’s sales are affected by expanding US sanctions.

Under pressure from hardliners, Rouhani toughened his rhetoric against Washington earlier this month. On Saturday, the Supreme Leader endorsed the President’s “important” declaration that “if Iran’s oil export is blocked, no other country is region can export oil either”.

Yesterday, Rouhani issued a direct challenge:

The Americans should learn well that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace and war with Iran is the mother of all wars….

Mr Trump! We are the people of dignity and guarantor of security of the waterway of the region throughout the history. Don’t play with the lion’s tail; you will regret it.

Rouhani’s statement implicitly backed threats by the Iranian military to close the Strait of Hormuz at the top of the Persian Gulf, a vital route for oil tankers.

Trump Administration Pushes Regime Change

Trump’s blast followed a high-profile appearance by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, promoting the Administration’s campaign for regime change in Iran.

In a speech at the Reagan Library in California, addressing Iranian Americans, Pompeo claimed a US mission for human rights and hailed the collapse of Iran’s fragile economy:

Pompeo asserted that the Supreme Leader personally profits from a $95 billion “hedge fund” run by the Revolutionary Guards and continued:

To the regime, prosperity, security, and freedom for the Iranian people are acceptable casualties in the march to fulfill the Revolution….

The level of corruption and wealth among regime leaders shows that Iran is run by something that resembles the mafia more than a government. These hypocritical holy men have devised all kinds of crooked schemes to become some of the wealthiest men on Earth while their people suffer.

Other analysts pointed to another motive for Trump’s late night, all-caps warning: under growing pressure from the Russia investigation — and over his performance at last week’s Helsinki Summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin — Trump could be seeking a distraction.