Iran hits back with Alexander the Great jibe after Trump threatens to end them

May 20, 2019

Iran's foreign minister has goaded Donald Trump on Twitter, after the US president threatened the "official end" of the country.

In a tweet, Mohammad Javad Zarif said: "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!"

Trump's warning comes at a time of heightened tensions between the US and Iran, following the president's decision to pull the US out of Tehran's nuclear deal with other world powers.

Mr Trump tweeted: "If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!"

The warned came shortly after a rocket landed close to the US embassy in Baghdad in the Iraqi capital's Green Zone on Sunday night.

No group has yet come forward and claimed responsibility for the attack.

Mr Trump had softened his tone on Iran after days of tension triggered by a sudden US deployment of bombers and an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf over unspecified threats.

Since then, United Arab Emirates officials have claimed four of their oil tankers have been sabotaged, while rebels from Yemen allied with Iran have launched a drone attack on an oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia.

Diplomats from the US have also given warnings that commercial airlines could be misidentified by Iran and attacked - something which has been dismissed by Tehran.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the Iranians need to think carefully about US retaliation should they attack their interests, and has warned them not to underestimate the US.

He told reporters in Geneva on Monday, "I would say to the Iranians: Do not underestimate the resolve on the US side.

"They don't want a war with Iran. But if American interests are attacked, they will retaliate. And that is something that the Iranians needs to think about very, very carefully."

Both Washington and Tehran have said they do not seek war, but Mr Hunt has previously warned there is a risk the US and Iran could end up at war unintentionally.

Mr Trump campaigned on pulling the US from the 2015 nuclear deal, which meant Iran had to agree to limit its enrichment of uranium in return for the lifting of economic sanctions.

After the withdrawal last year the US reimposed sanctions, and has since issued new ones and has warned other countries they would also be subject to sanctions if they import Iranian oil.

Mr Trump branded the nuclear deal a "horror show", despite the UN repeatedly confirming Iran's compliance with the agreement.

Earlier this month, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced Iran would be backing away from the terms of the deal and set a 60-day deadline for Europe to come up with new terms, before it begins enriching uranium close to weapons-grade levels.

Tehran has long said it does not seek nuclear weapons, however the west fears its programme could allow it to build atomic bombs.

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