Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has responded to President Donald Trump’s recent threats to Tehran on Twitter, saying that the United States “is not in a position to obliterate Iran.”
Speaking exclusively to CNN a week after Iran downed a US military drone, Zarif said that US actions have been “confrontational” and “provocative” but that Iran is not seeking war.
“I think President Trump should remember that we don’t live in the 18th century. There is a United Nations charter, and threat of wars is illegal,” Zarif said.
Amid escalating tensions between the Trump administration and Tehran, the US President warned Tuesday that any subsequent attack Iran might carry out on “anything American” would be met with “great and overwhelming force.”
“In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration,” the President tweeted.
The ramped-up rhetoric comes after US officials blamed Iran for conducting attacks against two tankers in the vital Gulf of Oman this month. Iran has denied responsibility for the ship attacks.
The US President himself accused Iran of being behind the provocation, threatening airstrikes on Iran last week – but calling them off just minutes before they were to begin.
Zarif said the US administration was “trying to undermine the Iranian government” and “walked into it based on a wrong analysis.”
Trump has received “wrong information, wrong analysis, and now President Trump finds himself in a situation where he believes that he needs to get out.”
Relations between the two adversaries took a dangerous turn last week with the Trump administration’s decision to deploy 1,000 additional troops and more military resources to the Middle East. The forces are being sent in response to what Washington called “hostile behavior by Iranian forces that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region.”
The Trump administration has also cranked up economic pressure on Iran, issuing a raft of new sanctions Monday targeting Iran’s Supreme Leader, military officials and its top diplomat: Zarif.
Speaking to CNN, the foreign minister called the sanctions “an additional insult by the United States against the entire Iranian nation.”