After several blatant death threats targeting President Trump roused the might of the US, Iran backed down, calling reports of the threats “fake news.”
Rouhani: Trump’s Life Will End “In a Few Days”
Iran has been becoming progressively more aggressive in speech and action as the January 3rd anniversary of the assassination of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani approached. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gave a speech on December 16th warning of a “definite plan” for revenge. Three days later, Iranian-backed militia attacked the US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.
But the incendiary rhetoric flared up even higher last Wednesday when, according to a report in the Washington Times, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani issued a personal death-threat against US President Trump.
“One of the effects of this stupid and disgraceful act,” Mr. Rouhani said of the airstrike that killed Soleimani, “was that Trumpism ended,” Rouhani said to the cabinet about the drone strike that killed Soleimani. “In a few days, the life of this criminal will end and he will go to the dustbin of history.”
“We are very happy about this and we believe that the period after Trump will be a better condition for regional and global stability.”
In an event on Thursday, President Hassan Rouhani compared President Donald Trump to the former dictator of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, and said: “Saddam imposed eight-years of war on us, and he was overthrown. Trump imposed three years of economic war on us, and in the upcoming weeks he will also be overthrown, not just from power but from life.”
In another part of the speech, Rouhani stated: “As I said after the martyrdom of Martyr Soleimani, I emphasize again that if you cut off Martyr Soleimani’s hand, we will cut off your leg from the region and we will continue the resistance until that day.”
Not soon after, Iran’s judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi doubled down on Rouhani’s threat. Speaking at an event in Tehran paying tribute to Soleimani, Raisi stated that anyone who had a role in the death of the Iranian general will not be able to “escape law and justice even if they were a US president.”
Maj. Gen. Abdolrahim Mousavi, commander of Iran’s army, said Thursday that Iran was poised with a “hand holding a sword and a sledgehammer” to strike against Soleimani’s killers, according to Iran’s Tasnim news agency.
Apparently, the US president was unflustered. Following the rocket attack on the embassy, he tweeted, “Some friendly health advice to Iran. If one American is killed, I will hold Iran responsible. Think it over.”
Adding muscle to his words, the US moved the aircraft carrier Nimitz and its strike group back into the region this month. On Wednesday, two U.S. B-52 Stratofortress bombers flew over the Persian Gulf, avoiding Iranian airspace in a 36-hour mission from Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota. It was the third time in six weeks that US B-52s had flown near Iran.
Iran Backs Down
The US saber-rattling had the desired effect. On Friday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh tweeted, “Cowardice in assassinating foreign leaders is a US-Israeli trademark; NOT Iranian.”
He went on to deny the veracity of the Washington Times report.
“Washington Times should know better than to publish fake news & spread anti-Iran bigotry,” Khatibzadeh tweeted.
But not all of the Iranian threats are verbal rhetoric. It was announced on Friday that Iran informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations nuclear watchdog, that it plans to enrich uranium to 20% purity.