Iran: Idiotic new US sanctions closed doors of diplomacy

Updated: Jun 26, 2019, 11:04 IST | Agencies |

President Hassan Rouhani derides the White House as being 'afflicted by mental retardation'

A handout picture provided by the Iranian presidency shows President Hassan Rouhani attending a meeting with ministers broadcast live on TV in Tehran. Pic/ AFP
A handout picture provided by the Iranian presidency shows President Hassan Rouhani attending a meeting with ministers broadcast live on TV in Tehran. Pic/ AFP

Tehran: Iran warned on Tuesday that new US sanctions targeting its supreme leader and other top officials meant "closing the doors of diplomacy" between Tehran and Washington amid heightened tensions, even as the country's president derided the White House as being "afflicted by mental retardation."

President Hassan Rouhani went on to call the sanctions against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei "outrageous and idiotic," especially since the 80-year-old Shiite cleric has no plans to travel to the United States.

From Israel, US National Security Adviser John Bolton said Iran could walk through an "open door" to talks with America, though he also warned that "all options remain on the table" if Tehran makes good on its promise to begin breaking one limit from its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

Trump enacted the new sanctions against Khamenei and his associates on Monday after Iran's downing on June 20 of a US surveillance drone, worth over $100 mn. He then said he pulled back from the brink of retaliatory military strikes but continued his pressure campaign against Iran.

US officials also said they plan sanctions against Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, something that drew Rouhani's anger during his televised address Tuesday.

"You sanction the foreign minister simultaneously with a request for talks," an exasperated Rouhani said, calling the sanctions "outrageous and idiotic." He added, "The White House is afflicted by mental retardation and does not know what to do."

Trump has warned Iran that an attack on US interests would trigger an "overwhelming" response. He tweeted that "any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration." Iran's leaders only understand "Strength and Power, and the USA is by far the most powerful Military Force in the world," he said in the tweet.

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